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Man accused of driving toward officer as police fired shots

Police officers secure a scene on a private road off Kahekili Highway near Waihee Bridge on Tuesday morning. Police said Kaipo Lapenia-Lau, 25, was arrested in Waihee after he drove toward a police officer in Wailuku. LENIE LAWRENCE photo

The Maui News

Police officers fired shots at a vehicle being driven toward an officer in Wailuku on Tuesday morning, after the driver didn’t comply with officers’ orders to get out of the vehicle, police said.

The driver, identified as Kaipo Lapenia-Lau, 25, wasn’t struck by the officers’ shots and a vehicle pursuit followed, ending when Lapenia-Lau was arrested at a residence in Waihee.

Before his arrest, an all-points bulletin had been issued for Lapenia-Lau in connection with a traffic stop at 12:32 a.m. Tuesday on a vehicle with no illuminated rear lights in Wailuku.

The driver gave officers fictitious names, but police determined he was Lapenia-Lau, who didn’t have a valid driver’s license and had several warrants for his arrest.

As officers instructed Lapenia-Lau to get out of the vehicle, he accelerated and one officer was caught off guard and dragged 3 to 4 feet, police said. The officer was treated at Maui Memorial Medical Center for minor injuries before being released and returning to work.

At 9:05 a.m. Tuesday, officers saw Lapenia-Lau’s vehicle near Mill Street in Wailuku and approached when it stopped. Lapenia-Lau began yelling at officers as they ordered him to get out of the vehicle, then he accelerated toward one officer, who fired his police gun at the approaching vehicle when he feared being hit, police said.

Another officer at the scene also fired his gun at the vehicle after seeing it drive toward the first officer.

Lapenia-Lau wasn’t struck by the shots.

After Lapenia-Lau was located at the Waihee residence and arrested, he was treated at the scene by medics for minor injuries he sustained from broken glass.

Lapenia-Lau was arrested on suspicion of first-degree assault on a police officer, attempted first-degree murder and resisting an order to stop a motor vehicle.

Police said both officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave with pay, in keeping with standard police procedure, while the investigation continues.

Lapenia-Lau was being held at the Wailuku Police Station on Wednesday. Court records show a $500 bench warrant was issued for him Feb. 16 when he didn’t appear in Wailuku District Court on charges of DUI and open container. In December, he was placed on one year’s probation after pleading no contest to abuse by refusing to comply with an order to leave a relative’s residence, according to court records.

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