Documents detail harrowing shotgun confrontation

  • Kamalii

Three officers assigned to the Hilo Special Enforcement Unit struggled to take a loaded sawed-off shotgun away from a probationer in a violent roadway confrontation last week in Hawaiian Acres, according to court documents filed by police.

On Sept. 28, Detective Keith Simeona and Officers Steven Grace and Christopher Fukumoto were checking on a car with a Texas license plate and no safety check sticker parked on the roadway and impeding traffic on B Road just off Road 8, according to documents.

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The occupants of the car, a man and a woman, told Grace they were waiting for help, documents state.

When Grace asked the driver, a man he recognized as 39-year-old Larry Kamalii of Hilo, for his driver’s license, registration and insurance card, Kamalii told the officer he had none of that paperwork, documents state.

Grace noticed something within the driver’s reach he thought might be a weapon and ordered Kamalii to put his hands on the steering wheel. Kamalii refused to comply, according to documents.

Simeona confirmed there were outstanding warrants for Kamalii’s arrest, and when Grace opened the driver’s side door and notified Kamalii he was under arrest and to step outside the vehicle, Kamalii produced a sawed-off, single-barrel 20 gauge shotgun and pointed it at Grace’s face, documents state.

Grace then grabbed the weapon with both hands in an attempt to wrestle it away, according to documents. He yelled, “Gun! Gun! Gun!” while Simeona entered the car from the rear driver-side door to assist Grace.

Documents state both Simeona and Grace heard Kamalii yell something to the effect of, “You’re going to have to (expletive) kill me!” Simeona drew his duty weapon but didn’t fire because of the proximity of Grace to Kamalii, according to documents.

Simeona saw Kamalii try to bite Grace to get him to loosen his grip on the shotgun, and Simeona got out of the car and reentered from the passenger side to help wrestle the shotgun from Kamalii, documents state.

Simeona saw the gun was loaded and put his hand over the lower portion of the receiver to stop the weapon from discharging, according to documents.

Kamalii and Grace continued to struggle for the weapon as Simeona and Fukumoto tried to remove Kamalii from the car to handcuff him, documents state.

Kamalii continued to resist, including kicking, but Grace was able to wrest the shotgun away as Fukumoto got a handcuff on Kamalii’s right arm, according to documents. He was secured and restrained a short time later.

Kamalii is charged with attempted first-degree murder with Grace as the victim, four counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm or ammunition, first-degree terroristic threatening, carrying or using a firearm in the commission of a separate felony, illegally carrying a loaded firearm, carrying a loaded firearm on a public roadway, and first-degree attempted assault of a law enforcement officer.

Bail for Kamalii was originally set at $705,000, but Hilo District Judge Kanani Laubach granted a motion Friday by Deputy Prosecutor Elyssa Correia-Keltner to hold Kamalii without bail.

Kamalii was scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Tuesday, but wasn’t transported to the courthouse and — as was the case Friday — didn’t appear for the hearing via Zoom from Hawaii Community Correctional Center.

Laubach postponed the preliminary hearing until 2 p.m. Oct. 25 at the request of Kamalii’s court-appointed attorney, Ivan Van Leer.

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Attempted first-degree murder carries a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole upon conviction.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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