A witness to the shooting of two police officers in Hilo 13 months ago said Tuesday he became, by default, the getaway driver for the alleged shooter.
Testifying in the attempted murder trial of Keaka Martin in Hilo Circuit Court, Kawika Paulino said the 32-year-old Martin jumped into the rear passenger side of Paulino’s Ford Explorer shortly after the shooting and “told me to drive.” Martin is accused of the Jan. 2, 2013, shootings of Hilo patrol officers Garrett Hatada and Joshua Gouveia in the parking lot of the Pono Place, the site of the former Green Onion cocktail lounge on Kilauea Avenue.
Both officers, who suffered wounds to their lower extremities, survived and later returned to duty.
Paulino, who said he knew the 32-year-old Martin from having been his neighbor on East Kawailani Street in Hilo, testified he was fishing in Wailoa Pond by the Pono Place that evening when he heard “about 20 gunshots … coming from Wailoa (State Park) area.” He said he called 911 to report the gunfire and police arrived within “about 10 minutes” and told him if there were any other developments, to call them back.
Paulino testified that a little later, he saw two people “walking down the ramp toward Pono Place.” He said he realized one of the men was Martin when Martin asked Paulino to use his phone. He said Martin was shirtless with pants, a fanny pack and a “Crown Royal bag with bullets in it.”
“What else, if anything, did he have with him?” asked Deputy Prosecutor Darien Nagata.
“Had a gun,” Paulino said, describing it as “silver and black.” He added Martin “took it out and handed it to me.”
“What did you do when he handed you the gun and the bullets?” Nagata inquired.
“I didn’t want it. I didn’t want to touch it,” Paulino said.
The 21-year-old Paulino, who was with his wife, Hotina, their 1-year-old son and a friend, Maria Sabater-Hart, testified he was “just in a hurry to get everybody together to leave.”
Paulino said Martin told him he was “in the middle of Wailoa shooting the gun” and “that he had outstanding warrants, facing some time, he didn’t want to go in (to jail).”
Paulino said police arrived a second time and Martin “disappeared.”
“I thought he ran,” he testified.
Paulino said an officer approached a black van in the lot.
“He kneeled down at the tire of the black van and at that time, I realized that someone was under the van, ’cause I overheard him say ‘hold your position ....’”
“… And what happened at that time?” Nagata queried.
“Shortly after that, gunshots were being fired,” Paulino replied, adding he saw two officers down. “I thought they were dead. I kinda saw them crawling around to the side, trying to get out of the way. I immediately started up my car and took off.”
“Who was in your car?” the prosecutor asked.
“My wife, my son, Maria, and Keaka,” Paulino said, and later added another acquaintance, Darrel Constantino, jumped onto the roof of the car and “broke the racks.”
“How did Keaka get into your car?”
“In the back passenger door, was being left open. When I looked back at the passenger door, he came up from the ground. I didn’t know, I thought he was gone, but he came up from the ground, jumped in the back of my family’s car and told me to drive.”
Paulino said he drove to the Hilo Lagoon Center and stopped in front of the building.
“And why did you stop?” asked Nagata.
“Because I was devastated and my wife was freaking out and my son was in the back and I just kind of looked at Keaka and asked him to leave, not to do this to me and my family. And he then got out and that’s where he parted from my vehicle,” Paulino said.
Hatada is expected to testify when trial resumes this morning in Judge Greg Nakamura’s courtroom.
Email John Burnett at email@example.com.