Three Honolulu police officers are free of criminal charges in connection with the shooting death of a 16-year-old crime spree suspect after an Oahu district court judge ruled the prosecution did not present sufficient evidence that the trio committed murder and attempted murder.
“We are pleased with today’s decision. This has been challenging for our officers, the department and many in our community,” Acting Honolulu police Chief Rade K. Vanic said, in a statement. “Throughout this time, our officers have continued to serve with pride and professionalism. I thank the HPD ohana for their support.”
The case involved the death of Iremamber Sykap, driver of a white Honda Civic stolen from Kailua that was wanted in connection with an escalating series of violent robberies and a home invasion where the victims reported the suspects were wielding firearms, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
“The Department of the Prosecuting Attorney is very disappointed by Judge (William) Domingo’s ruling today relating to the officer-involved shooting of Iremamber Sykap,” said Matthew S. Dvonch, Special Counsel to the Prosecuting Attorney, in a statement.
Judge Domingo ultimately sided with the defense, who argued the officers—Officer Geoffrey H.L. Thom, Officer Zackary K. Ah Nee, and Officer Christopher Fredeluces—and the public were in grave danger and opened fire only after repeated attempts to pull Sykap and his crew over. They knew the car and its occupants were wanted in connection with two gunpoint robberies and a home invasion where victims told police two men threatened them with firearms, moments before they ignored commands by two officers to surrender.
Sykap and his alleged accomplices gave no indication of surrendering as they led officers on a high speed chase, weaving through traffic, blowing through stop lights, stop signs, and intersections and at one point, hopping a median and leading officers into oncoming traffic.
Domingo dismissed the charges on the sixth day of the officers’ preliminary hearing, deciding that there was insufficient evidence to put the men on trial.