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Hunt for suspect in Hawaii policeman’s killing prompts officers to return from days off and vacations

Officer Bronson Kaliloa, left, in an undated photo. Justin Waiki, right, is suspected of shooting Kaliloa during a traffic stop.
(Hawaii Police Department)

Hawaii’s entire Big Island police force was on alert Wednesday for a suspect wanted in the killing of an officer during a traffic stop, including off-duty officers and some who returned to work from vacation and days off to join in the search.

Officer Bronson K. Kaliloa, a 10-year veteran of the Hawaii County police, was shot Tuesday night as he and other officers approached a vehicle during a traffic stop near Mountain View, a community south of Hilo, police said.

Kaliloa was struck in the neck and leg by a driver who got out of his car firing multiple shots from a handgun, Hawaii County police said. He died early Wednesday at a hospital.

Other officers returned fire at the assailant, who fled into the brush in a largely rural area northeast of the summit of Kilauea volcano. Police did not immediately say how many shots were fired or whether the gunman was struck.

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The suspect, whom police identified as Justin Joshua Waiki, 33, was wanted on a no-bail warrant. Waiki’s last known address was Las Vegas.

Police spokesman Alan Richmond said Waiki also had prior addresses on the Big Island, including in Volcano, Hilo and Lower Puna. He was last seen wearing a white T-shirt and dark jacket.

Kaliloa, 46, had been married for 23 years and had three children. He was named Officer of the Year for his district in 2014.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige extended his condolences to Kaliloa’s family and colleagues. “He was a highly regarded 10-year veteran of the Hawaii Police Department who will be greatly missed,” Ige said in a statement.


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