State briefs for July 2

Deputy investigated for murder in Capitol shooting

HONOLULU — The deputy sheriff who shot and killed a man at the state Capitol in Honolulu is now being investigated for murder.

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The February shooting is classified as second-degree murder, Honolulu police said. It was originally classified as an unattended. Police sent it to prosecutors last month as murder, said police spokeswoman Michelle Yu.

Delmar Espejo, 28, died of a gunshot wound to the back, according to an autopsy report.

After the shooting, state Public Safety Director Nolan Espinda said Espejo was shot in the upper torso and taken to a hospital, where he died.

Espejo ignored the deputy’s directions to throw out the alcohol he was drinking and leave the Capitol grounds, Espinda said. Espejo then became physically combative and an “extreme struggle” ensued, Espinda said, and the deputy fired his weapon while the two were in close contact during the scuffle.

The deputy has been with the state Department of Public Safety since 2017 and is on restricted duty.

Brooks Baehr, spokesman for the Honolulu prosecuting attorney’s office, said prosecutors are reviewing the case.

Festival will explore how Hawaiian music influenced folk

HONOLULU — A new two-day festival on Kauai aims to explore the influences traditional Hawaiian music has had on traditional folk music.

The Kauai Folk Festival, scheduled for Sept. 28-29 in Lihue, is the brainchild of Matt Morelock, a multi-instrumentalist best known as a banjo player.

Morelock, who was raised on bluegrass and country music and previously produced a live-performance radio show called the “WDVX Blue Plate Special” in Knoxville, Tenn., has been trying to grow Kauai’s folk music scene since he and his wife, Hollis Church, moved to Moloaa eight years ago.

“I discovered when I got here that there was robust support for Hawaiian music, and rightly so, but the connection between Hawaiian traditional music and traditional music from other parts for the world had not been fully explored,” said Morelock, who is director of the folk festival.

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While Morelock said it’s commonly known Hawaiians invented Hawaiian-style steel guitar playing, he identified other connections, including Hawaiian style vocal harmonies and yodeling.

“A diversity of subjects for songwriting and rhythms and pulses for American folk music didn’t exist until Hawaiian musicians started traveling throughout the world in the late royal era under King David Kalakaua,” Morelock said. “Hawaiian musicians of that era were rock stars. They performed at expositions, royal palaces, world fairs and for heads of state. …”

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