Hilo man critically injured in police shooting; department says suspect drove car at officers


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HILO, Hawaii — Two Hawaii County police officers shot and critically wounded a suspect who drove toward them on a downtown Hilo Street, according to the department.

James Salai, 31, was transported to Hilo Medical Center and flown to The Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald (http://bit.ly/1FLly6B ) reported.

Names of the officers were not been released. One is a 32-year-old officer with more than seven years experience, said Lt. Greg Esteban. The other is a 28-year-old officer with six months experience.

After a shooting by an officer, the department requires a criminal investigation by detectives and an administrative investigation by the department's internal affairs division, the Office of Professional Standards.

The officers pulled Salai over shortly before midnight Saturday on Mamo Street because they thought he was driving impaired, Esteban said.

Salai drove off, Esteban said, and turned the wrong way onto a short one-way street.

His car struck two parked cars and shoved one into its owner, who was standing near the passenger door.

Salai then drove the car in reverse, toward the officers, and struck the back of an officer's car.

"At that time, rounds are discharged by both officers," Esteban said.

The driver took off again with the officers in pursuit.

"They eventually stop the vehicle at the Kinoole and Haihai Street intersection," Esteban said. "They take the male into custody and he's transported to Hilo Medical Center with apparent gunshot wounds."

Information from: Hawaii Tribune-Herald, http://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/

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