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Details emerge in fatal police shooting on Kauai

February 18, 2012
By JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER , The Associated Press

Police fired four gunshots during a standoff that killed an unarmed suspect at his Kauai home, neighbors said Friday in questioning officers' use of deadly force on the man.

"He didn't have any weapons," said Roland Jordan, 40, who lives across the street from Richard Louis. "To me, four shots, that's ridiculous."

The 62-year-old's death was the island force's second fatal officer-involved shooting since December. It came after Chief Darryl Perry was put on leave this month while the county investigates an employee complaint.

Article Photos

RICHARD LOUIS, killed in standoff

Acting Chief Michael Contrades said Wednesday's shooting is being investigated but it appears "that the officers involved acted appropriately."

Police officials did not immediately respond to requests for details confirming the number of shots fired or the reason that officers believed it was necessary to open fire.

There were no updates available on the investigation into December's police shooting that killed a 21-year-old knife-wielding man during a rampage in which he fatally stabbed a neighbor and attacked three other people.

In a statement, police said officers arrived at Louis' home to arrest him on a warrant for missing his trial in December, when a jury found him guilty on theft, gun and drug charges from a 2007 incident. Police said Louis had 32 prior arrests.

Police said he barricaded himself in the home with a woman whom neighbors described as his girlfriend of six years. Negotiators were able to get the woman out, but Louis refused to surrender.

About three hours after police first arrived, Louis was seen on the roof of the house in an "aggressive and agitated state." An officer went on the roof to try to detain him, but Louis grabbed a "metal object" and threatened to kill the officer, who fired at Louis, police said.

Louis was pronounced dead shortly after midnight Thursday after being flown to a Honolulu hospital. An autopsy was scheduled for Friday, but the results were not immediately available.

Jordan said Louis, known in the neighborhood as "Uncle Dick," wasn't dangerous. Louis did odd jobs and previously ran a body shop where he helped neighbors who needed work by charging them very little, Jordan said.

"He would give the shirt off his back to help you," he said.

Jordan said when he heard the first shot, he thought it was to rattle Louis off the roof. But when three other shots followed, he thought it was excessive.

"Why did they have to use deadly force," Jordan asked. "Where else is he going to escape on the roof? Everywhere he's surrounded. If they would have taken a little bit more time, I think he would have surrendered."

Louis' sister-in-law, Betty Louis, lives across the street but went to feed cattle in a pasture when the standoff began. Her grandchildren stayed behind to monitor the commotion and told her they heard four shots.

"He didn't have a gun," she said. "This whole incident is kind of crazy. Nobody has answers. If you don't have a weapon, even if you're resisting arrest, (police) have different techniques. They're supposed to be trained."

Louis has three adult sons and a daughter but began distancing himself from family about three years ago, she said, adding that she didn't know about his criminal history.

 
 
 

 

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