Second officer shot in line of duty takes witness stand
A second police officer shot in the line of duty last January took the stand Wednesday in the attempted murder trial of Hilo resident Keaka Martin.
Hawaii County Police Department Officer Garrett Hatada told jurors he and Officer Joshua Gouveia, who was also shot, went twice to the parking lot of the Pono Place on the evening of Jan. 2, 2013. First to investigate reports of gunshots and again, around 8:30 p.m., to a report of “a guy hiding under one of the vehicles there.”
Hatada said Gouveia told him he had seen a person under one of the vehicles and the officers decided to call for backup before approaching the vehicle. A third officer arrived within minutes and the officers then approached the vehicle, he said.
“Initially when we approached, it (the flashlight) was off. We turned it on when we got to the vehicle,” Hatada explained. “I knelt down to confront the person who was hiding underneath. … I shone my light onto the person. At that point, I heard Officer Gouveia shout, ‘Don’t do it, don’t do it!’ At the same point, I see a male party … holding himself up on the chassis underneath the vehicle drop to the ground and start fumbling with his waistband. … I hear three gunshots.”
Despite unholstering his gun, Hatada said he did not shoot beause “I was too close. I didn’t have an angle underneath the vehicle.”
Hatada said he sought cover under a large banyan tree and saw a car leave the parking lot before ambulances and other officers arrived.
Hatada, who suffered gunshot wounds to the left calf and right foot, was taken to Hilo Medical Center, where he underwent emergency surgery where he remained for four days. He also showed the jury a scar on that leg he said was 10 inches long and described how the wounds continue to affect him.
Gouveia, who suffered a gunshot wound to the upper left thigh, has also returned to duty. He testified earlier in the trial. Hatada has also returned to duty.
Steve Strauss, Martin’s court-appointed attorney, deferred cross examination of both officers until the defense portion of the trial.
Check out the Thursday, March 6, edition of West Hawaii Today or visit westhawaiitoday.com for full coverage.