UNITED STATES NEWS

Police shoot, kill man on Hawaii’s close-knit, rural Molokai

May 1, 2023, 1:55 PM | Updated: 5:20 pm

HONOLULU (AP) — Police officers responding to a report of a temporary restraining order violation on the small and close-knit Hawaiian island of Molokai shot and killed a man.

Two police officers were responding to the call Sunday morning when they encountered a man wielding a weapon, the Maui Police Department said.

“The male advanced toward the officers, at which time one officer deployed his taser, which proved ineffective before both officers discharged their weapons,” police said in a statement.

The man died at Molokai General Hospital, police said. The officers involved were put on administrative leave and an investigation is ongoing, police said.

Molokai is just 8 miles (12.87 kilometers) northwest of the island of Maui. Residents on the Molokai, known for its small-town atmosphere and no traffic lights, were shocked by the fatal shooting. Keani Rawlins-Fernandez, who holds the Molokai seat on the county council, told The Associated Press Monday there have been no similar incidents in recent memory.

Maui police didn’t immediately respond to an AP email asking when was the last time an officer was involved in a shooting on Molokai.

“Most of us are … related or friends. We mostly know each other,” Rawlins-Fernandez said of the island’s population of about 7,500. Most of the officers are long-time Molokai residents, she said.

While many questions remain about what happened, people are wondering how it could have been prevented. “What more services do we need on this island so that we can prevent these kinds of things from happening?” she said.

She said she went to high school with the man, identified by police Monday as Nathaniel Naki, 40, of Kaunakakai, the largest town on Molokai.

This is “absolutely tragic,” Rawlins-Fernandez said. “The community is, you know, trying to figure out together how … to console the family.”

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Police shoot, kill man on Hawaii’s close-knit, rural Molokai