A friend of a Hilo man accused of the nonfatal shooting of two police officers early last year in Hilo said he ran toward the scene of the shooting to check on the suspect’s welfare — and was beaten by officers shortly thereafter.
Testifying on Tuesday in the attempted murder trial of 32-year-old Keaka Martin, David Carroll said he and Martin “were like brothers” prior to the shootings of Hilo patrol officers Garrett Hatada and Joshua Gouveia on Jan. 2, 2013. Police and prosecutors say at about 8:45 p.m. that day, Martin shot the two officers with a 9 mm handgun from under a modified black van in the parking lot of the Pono Place — the Kilauea Avenue site of the former Green Onion cocktail lounge.
Both officers were hospitalized for their wounds but since returned to duty.
The 30-year-old Carroll testified that while his girlfriend, Amanda Shiro, was working at Subway late that afternoon, Martin showed up at the couple’s Maile Street apartment with a bottle of Bacardi rum, and he and Martin finished the bottle.
Carroll said his girlfriend called and told him to get some milk for their son, so he and Martin left the apartment sometime after 7 p.m., and it was Carroll’s intent to go to the Kilauea Shell Food Mart.
Carroll said before he could go to the convenience store to buy the milk, Martin stopped by a banyan tree and “asked if it was OK to pop off some rounds” from a “weapon that he had bought for his own security purposes.”
“I didn’t feel secure about it because we were in the city limits. And not only that, there was an officer pulling in across the water in Wailoa State Park,” Carroll testified.
“And so, what happened?” asked Deputy Prosecutor Darien Nagata.
“He said, ‘F—- the police,’ like, more or less, they’re not gonna bother us and we can do whatever we wanna do. At that point is when he raised his gun and started shooting rounds in the air,” Carroll replied.
Carroll testified Martin fired all the bullets from the semi-automatic pistol and loaded another clip into the firearm.
“At that point was when the lights from the police officers started shining into the field and me and Mr. Martin got on the ground and we started crawling like military soldiers,” he said. “… We crawled along the bank behind Cafe 100 until the lights went away.”
Carroll said after crawling around for about a half-hour, he and Martin climbed the embankment and headed toward Kilauea Avenue.
“My destination was the Shell gas station, but he insisted that I go with him to a safe destination which, at that point, was Pono Place, the old Green Onion,” he said.
Carroll said when they got to Pono Place there were people fishing there and Martin knew at least two of them. Carroll said Martin started conversing with acquaintances and it was then Carroll left to buy milk.
The jury was shown a security video from the Kilauea Shell Food Mart showing Carroll making his purchase about 8:30 p.m.
Carroll said when he returned to his apartment, Martin’s girlfriend, Misty Quiocho, was there and asked about Martin. He said he told Quiocho he’d go to Pono Place to check on him.
“And then what happened?” Nagata asked.
“… There was a series of gunshots, maybe eight. They were not all from the same weapon,” Carroll said. “… I ran hysterically towards that direction, under the impression that my friend was shot and I wanted to talk to the police and ask why they shot him. … As I was crossing the bridge, a police officer came from Pono Place and started yelling at me, ‘Get back. Get back. Get the f—- back.’”
Carroll said he returned to the apartment complex and was talking to neighbors outside when police came to question him about “why I approached them that way.”
“I was mentally distraught,” he said.
“… And what happened?” Nagata inquired.
“The police officers slammed me on the ground and they beat me up.” Carroll answered.
He said he was taken to the police cellblock and stayed there three days.
According to court records, Carroll pleaded no contest to a disorderly conduct charge Jan. 4, 2013, and was sentenced by Hilo District Judge Barbara Takase to 21 hours of community service.
Martin’s attorney, Steve Strauss, deferred cross examination of Carroll until the defense portion of the trial, which is expected to start March 31. At that point, the Tribune-Herald expects to resume coverage of the trial, which continues today at 9 a.m. in Hilo Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura’s courtroom.
Email John Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.