By JOHN BURNETT
Tribune-Herald staff writer
A child of homicide victim Faafetai Fiu may have witnessed the fatal shooting, according to court documents filed by police.
Kimie Fiu, wife of the slain 32-year-old man, told police that she and her husband had been arguing all day on Dec. 29, and that sometime during the evening, she dropped him off at the so-called “lonely tree” on Bayfront so he could finish his beer, documents state. The woman, who told officers her family was homeless, said she then drove down the road so she and her children could sleep.
Later, she said, she was awakened by her son, who told her that he had heard gunshots. She told her son that it was firecrackers and went back to sleep. She said she was awakened again, this time by a police officer who asked her if he knew who had been popping fireworks. She replied that she had been sleeping and told the officer to ask the fisherman in the car next to hers. The officer told her there was no other car there. When he shined his flashlight where she said the car had been, the officer discovered her husband’s body, which had two gunshot wounds to his front upper torso and another six gunshot wounds to his rear upper torso, documents state.
According to documents, a therapist at the Children’s Justice Center interviewed a “minor child” who had been sleeping in Fiu’s 1997 Mercury Sable. The child described being awakened by gunshots, “hearing gunshots, seeing green colored lights, observing Fiu getting shot and falling to the ground dead.” The child told the therapist that the shooter was the fisherman, that Fiu and the shooter were fighting before the shooting, and that Fiu was shot five times. It’s not known if the child interviewed was the son who had awakened his mother.
Another man who had been fishing on the Bayfront told officers he’d noticed a silver-gray car with “all the windows covered up as if someone was living in the car,” documents state. The man told police that at some point in the evening, he heard a slamming sound and loud voices coming from the area of that car, and saw “two parties circling the vehicle with one party holding both hands up around shoulder height,” police wrote. The man told officers he believed it was a dispute, but things had quieted, so he continued fishing. He said he later heard “what he believed to be two to three gunshots coming from the area of the silver-gray vehicle.” He said that after a pause, there were numerous shots. He told police he feared for his safety and left the area, returning to talk to police after he felt it was safe.
Documents state that evidence collected from the scene include eight spent 9-millimeter casings, one intact 9-millimeter bullet and four cigarette butts.
Police also obtained surveillance video from the Mooheau Bus Terminal which showed the “grayish-colored vehicle” park along Bayfront Highway at 11:28 a.m. on Dec. 29 and remain there. Documents state that at about 8:41 p.m. “flashes can be seen in the area of this vehicle, which corresponds with the time of the shooting,” documents state.
Hilo Patrol Officer Mark Santos told detectives he’d encountered the silver car with the windows covered numerous times. One encounter was in the parking lot of Andrews Gym about four hours after the shooting. Santos said the car’s owner, Mark A. Whyne, was sleeping in the car. Santos provided detectives with the car’s license plate number, according to documents.
Officers served a search warrant on Whyne on Feb. 4 at the Wailoa Small Boat Harbor in Hilo and found a 9-millimeter pistol in a fanny pack he was wearing and a loaded .22-caliber pistol in his car. Whyne was taken into custody at that point. Documents state that forensic tests on the bullets found in Fiu matched the 9-millimeter. Both firearms were registered to Whyne, police said.
If there was a physical confrontation between the suspect and victim, the 55-year-old Whyne is 5-foot-5 and 135 pounds, while the much-younger Fiu was 6-foot-2 and 240 pounds, according to court records.
Whyne was described in documents as unemployed, divorced and living in the car, but had worked as a special education teacher at Pahoa High School from 1991 to 2005 and at McKinley High School in Honolulu from 2007 to 2011.
McKinley Principal Ron Okamura told the Tribune-Herald that Whyne resigned his teaching job “for personal reasons” and said the shooting was “kind of shocking in two ways.”
“Not only is he a former teacher of mine, but I’m from Hilo and that all happened while I was home,” Okamura said. “I didn’t know he’d gone back to the Big Island. He’s homeless now? He used to be married. What happened?”
Okamura found another detail of the case disturbing, as well.
“You know, he used to wear that fanny pack when he was here,” the principal said.
Whyne, who’s charged with second-degree murder, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and carrying a loaded firearm, has requested a mental examination.
A court hearing is scheduled for March 12.
He remains in custody without bail at Hawaii Community Correctional Center.