HONOLULU — A State Department special agent on trial for murder took his testimony to the floor of a Honolulu courtroom, demonstrating for jurors how he was on his back being pummeled when he fired his gun.
Federal agent Christopher Deedy took off his blazer to lie on the carpet Wednesday and described how Kollin Elderts was straddling and punching him. After the second shot, the punches stopped.
“Instead of coming down to punch, he just came down on top of me,” Deedy said. “I just laid down completely prone and closed my eyes.”
Elderts, 23, of Kailua, died of a single gunshot wound to the chest.
Deedy, 29, of Arlington, Va., is charged with murder in the 2011 confrontation in a Waikiki McDonald’s restaurant. The agent started testifying in his defense Tuesday, describing his training and a night out with friends in Waikiki and Chinatown the day he arrived in Honolulu to help with security for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.
On Wednesday, his testimony turned to what happened in the McDonald’s, where he ended up because of his friend’s hankering for chicken nuggets. Deedy said he intervened because Elderts was bothering a customer.
Elderts and his friend Shane Medeiros attacked his friend, Adam Gutowski, the agent testified.
“The dark blood on his face, the kicks connecting to his head,” Deedy said. “I needed to stop this assault.”
Deedy said he rose to his feet after being knocked to the floor and stood to face Elderts with his empty hands in front of him.
“I was issuing a warning, a command: ‘Stop, I’ll shoot,’” Deedy said. “As I drew my weapon and put my hand forward, I said ‘freeze.’”
To Deedy, it felt like the chaotic scene turned silent, like things were moving in slow-motion. “It’s so vivid in my mind…it was like time stood still,” he said. “This was going by I know it was only seconds but to me it was like minutes or hours.”
Prosecutors contend he was drunk and inexperienced. Deedy said he only had about four beers or less over 5 ½ hours that night.
Deedy is expected to continue testifying Wednesday, using footage from a bystander’s cell phone camera to show that he used his knife to help cut Eldert’s shirt and rendered aid.
He’s heard on the video — amid Hawaiian music playing in the restaurant — imploring Elderts to breathe as police respond to the scene.
He said an officer was surprised when he said he had a pistol.
“I said ‘I’m the one who shot him,’” Deedy said. “After that they placed my arms behind my back and handcuffed me.”
Jennifer Sinco Kelleher can be reached on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jenhapa .