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Officer tells harrowing account of night he was shot, painful recovery

March 4, 2014 - 6:58am

“I was thinking that I was going to die.”

Officer Joshua Gouveia told a jury Monday that was his initial thought after realizing that he’d been shot.

It was Gouveia’s second day on the witness stand in the attempted murder trial of 32-year-old Keaka Martin of Hilo, who’s accused of shooting Gouveia and Officer Garrett Hatada on the night of Jan. 2, 2013. The shooting took place in the parking lot of the Pono Place on Kilauea Avenue in Hilo, the site of the former Green Onion cocktail lounge.

Both officers have since returned to duty.

The 32-year-old Gouveia, who was shot in the upper left hip and thigh, spent three days in the hospital. He was instructed while hospitalized to walk the day after the shooting “to improve blood circulation” and described the experience as “excruciatingly painful.”

“I was informed that my pelvic bone had been fractured and that the bullet had broken into approximately 30 separate fragments from the left side to the right side of my lower midsection area,” Gouveia said in the same calm, even voice that he maintained throughout his testimony. “Most of the fragments (are) small sand-like pieces with a couple of larger pieces.”

Gouveia said that he still experiences “pain in both the left and right hips” and “pain sitting on hard surfaces” and other symptoms that he did not experience prior to the shooting. He said that he has also experienced difficulty sleeping and what he described as a brief, minor bout of depression.

“Currently, I’m seeing a therapist, I’ve seen a orthopedic specialist, I’ve seen urologists, I’ve seen neurologists, I’ve seen gastrointestinal specialists,” he said.

At the request of Deputy Prosecutor Darien Nagata, Gouveia demonstrated for the jury the position he was in when he was shot. Kneeling on the floor on one knee, he held a wireless microphone in his right hand to simulate a flashlight while extending his left arm and hand sideways from his body to show how he braced himself against the passenger-side front door of a modified truck to look beneath the vehicle prior to the gunfire.

Gouveia, Hatada and other officers responded to reports of gunshots in the vicinity at about 8 p.m. that evening and responded to the Pono Place parking lot about a half-hour later after dispatchers received reports of a suspicious male hiding under a vehicle there.

Gouveia testified that the suspect under the black Ford van, which was modified to have a pickup-type bed, was a light-skinned male. He said that both hands had a what “appeared to be a five-point star in black ink” with red shading inside the stars. Gouveia added that he saw the face for “only about a second, possibly two” because the officer’s focus was diverted to the suspect’s left hand reaching into the waistband of his pants, where he said the gun came from.

Gouveia said that he was shown a photographic lineup later. When asked if he were able to pick out a suspect from the lineup, he replied, “I don’t believe so.”

Defense attorney Steve Strauss deferred his cross examination of Gouveia because he plans to call him as a witness during the defense portion of the trial on March 17.

The trial continues at 9 a.m. today in Hilo Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura’s courtroom.

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