Suspect from Traffic Stop Arrested, Police Open Fire During Run-In

A 25-year-old man was arrested on first degree attempted murder, assault of an officer and resisting an order to stop his vehicle following a run-in with police that led to officers opening fire.

The incident started as a traffic stop in Wailuku at 12:32 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 23, in which a vehicle was being pulled over for having no illuminated rear lights.

Police say that upon contact, the male driver provided officers with fictitious names. Officers determined the man’s true identity was Kaipo Lapenia-Lau, and checks revealed the man had several warrants for arrest and was operating the vehicle without a valid Driver’s License.

Police say that when instructed to exit the vehicle, Lapenia-Lau accelerated the vehicle; catching one of the assisting officers off guard and dragging the officer approximately three to four feet.

The officer suffered minor injuries and returned to duty after seeking treatment at the Maui Memorial Medical Center.

Lapenia-Lau fled the scene, and an All-Points Bulletin was placed for his arrest for first degree assault on a police officer.

Police later located the suspect within a vehicle in the Mill Street area of Wailuku at 9:05 a.m. Tuesday.

Police say that once the vehicle came to a stop, officers approached and the lone male operator identified as Lapenia-Lau began yelling at officers as he was ordered to exit the vehicle. Lapenia-Lau then accelerated and drove the vehicle towards an officer, according to police reports.

Police say the officer fired his duty weapon at the suspect’s vehicle out of fear of being hit by the vehicle. An assisting officer at the scene also fired his duty weapon at the vehicle as he observed the vehicle driving towards his fellow officer.

Lapenia-Lau was not struck by the fired shots, and a vehicle pursuit ensued.

The suspect fled to a residence in Waiheʻe where he was located and taken into police custody. Lapenia-Lau was treated by medics at the scene with minor injuries he sustained from broken glass.

Both officers involved in the incident are on administrative leave with pay. The investigation is on-going

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