Mountain View, HI – A search is underway for a man who fatally shot a Hawaii police officer during a traffic stop late Tuesday night.
The Hawai'i Police Department released a picture and description of 33-year-old Justin Joshua Waiki in a press statement on Wednesday morning.
The shooting occurred when officers made a traffic stop on Waiki’s vehicle at about 9:47 p.m. on July 17, police said.
Waiki was wanted on an outstanding no-bail warrant, and multiple All Points Bulletins, the police department’s statement said.
When officers approached the vehicle, Waiki jumped out and began firing a handgun at the officers.
Officers returned fire, but the suspect escaped on foot into the brush beside the road, the statement said.
During the gun battle, Hawaii Police Officer Bronson K. Kaliloa was shot in both the neck and in the leg, police said.
He was transported to the Hilo Medical Center Emergency Room where he underwent surgery, but lifesaving efforts were not successful and he was pronounced dead at 12:45 p.m. on July 18.
Police launched a manhunt for Waiki, who was described as being five feet 11 inches tall and weighing 145 pounds. He was last seen wearing a white t-shirt and dark-colored jacket, the statement said.
Authorities said that Waiki, whose last known address was in Las Vegas, was considered “armed and dangerous” and anybody with information was urged to call the police and not attempt to approach him.
Witnesses told Hawaii News Now that more than 50 police cars descended on the scene immediately after the shooting.
Paul Klink said he heard popping sounds as he was driving through that area on his way home.
"I was driving up the road and I seen lights and then I saw a lot of lights and then I pulled over to turn around, but I thought it was a car accident and I'm medically trained so I was going to offer to help," Klink said. "That's when the cop pulled his gun and I realized this obviously isn't a car accident.”
“The cop came running around the car and I think he thought I might have been involved in it or could be. I don't know, but he was pretty assertive about me turning around,” he told Hawaii News Now.
Highway 11 remained closed as police investigated and searched nearby areas for Waiki on Wednesday.
Officer Kaliloa was a 10-veteran of the Hawaii police, and is survived by a wife and three small children.