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Trial begins for man accused of shooting officers

February 27, 2014 - 7:58am

Deputy Prosecutor Darien Nagata delivered the opening statement for the prosecution Wednesday in the trial of Keaka Martin, who’s accused of shooting and wounding two Hilo patrol officers Jan. 2, 2013, in the parking lot of the Pono Place on Kilauea Avenue.

Using her index finger and thumb to mimic an imaginary pistol pointed skyward, Nagata said that Martin shouted an expletive to a friend as he shot a 9 mm semi-automatic firearm into the air several times in a grassy field behind Cafe 100. She said that occurred shortly before Martin allegedly shot officers Garrett Hatada and Joshua Gouveia as Martin hid beneath a van in the parking lot.

Hatada, then 40 and a 14-year veteran of the police department, and Gouveia, then 31 and a four-year veteran, were both hospitalized but have since returned to duty.

Martin, 32, is charged with two counts each of first-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault, plus reckless endangering and five firearms charges. He’s being held without bail at Hawaii Community Correctional Center.

The prosecutor’s opening argument came Wednesday afternoon, after more than three weeks of jury selection.

Nagata said that after Martin fired the handgun into the air, he walked to Pono Place, where he allegedly told another friend he knew there were warrants for his arrest and he would not go to jail “without a fight.”

Nagata said that police went to the Pono Place parking lot after reports of gunfire and a report of a “suspicious male hiding underneath a van.” She said that Gouveia approached the passenger side of the van that Martin allegedly hid beneath. She said that Gouveia identified himself as an officer and asked the man to come out. She said Gouveia had not drawn his own weapon, but bore his flashlight in his right hand and had braced himself against the van with his left hand as he kneeled down on his left knee. She said Gouveia saw the man reach for his waistband then noticed “the black grip and the silver slide” of the handgun and yelled, “Don’t do it! Don’t do it! Show me your hands!”

“And the defendant, laying on the ground, reached out with his left hand and shot Officer Joshua Gouveia, who was trying to get off his left knee,” Nagata said. Gouveia was struck in the pelvis; doctors decided it was “too dangerous to take out” the bullet, she said.

Nagata said that as the wounded Gouveia tried to run for cover, he heard two more shots. Those shots, Nagata said, were directed at Hatada, who was on the other side of the van “with his flashlight in one hand and nothing in the other.”

“Officer Hatada immediately felt a pain to his right heel and his left calf area,” she said. “Three shots to the police, all in an attempt to kill them.”

Martin allegedly shot himself with a 9 mm handgun the following day as a police manhunt closed in on him. He was also hospitalized, initially in critical condition, but has since recovered.

Martin’s court-appointed attorney, Steve Strauss, will make his opening statement as the trial continues at 9 a.m. today in the Hilo courtroom of 3rd Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura. Gouveia is expected to be the prosecution’s first witness.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.