State deputy under investigation in fatal shooting on Capitol grounds
By JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER
The Associated Press
HONOLULU — The deputy sheriff who shot and killed a man at the state Capitol is being investigated in the killing.
The February shooting is classified as a second-degree murder case, Honolulu police said. It was originally classified as an unattended death. Police sent it to prosecutors last month as a murder case, police spokeswoman Michelle Yu said.
Delmar Espejo, 28, died of a gunshot wound to the back, an autopsy report said. “The wound path runs back to front, left to right, and slightly downward,” the report said.
After the shooting, state Public Safety Director Nolan Espinda said Espejo was shot in the upper torso and taken to a hospital, where he died.
Espejo ignored the deputy’s directions to throw out the alcohol he was drinking and leave the Capitol grounds, Espinda said. Espejo then became physically combative and an “extreme struggle” ensued, Espinda said, and the deputy fired his weapon while the two were in close contact during the scuffle.
The deputy has been with the state Department of Public Safety since 2017 and is on restricted duty.
“It would be inappropriate for (the department) to comment on the independent criminal investigation conducted by HPD or speculate on the findings of their investigation, all of which are held in confidentiality between HPD and the County Prosecutor’s Office,” department spokeswoman Toni Schwartz said in a statement Monday.
Brooks Baehr, spokesman for the Honolulu prosecuting attorney’s office, said prosecutors are reviewing the case.