KEALAKEKUA — A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for this afternoon for three individuals charged in connection with a shootout Friday at South Point that left a Hawaii Police sergeant injured and suspected cop killer Justin Waiki dead.
On Monday, Deputy Prosecutor Kauanoe Jackson requested a no-bail status be maintained during the initial appearances of Jorge Pagan-Torres, 35, and 30-year-old Malia Lajala, both of Hilo, and Krystle Ferreira, 29, of Waimea. In a motion filed by the state, they believe the status is supported because the suspects are a serious risk of fleeing, serious risk of attempting to obstruct justice, serious risk that they pose a danger to the community and a serious risk that they will engage in illegal activity.
Despite requests by Deputy Public Defender Frederick Macapinlac to reduce bail to $500,000 for each suspect, Kona District Court Judge Margaret Masunaga maintained the no-bail status.
Macapinlac was present as counsel for Pagan-Torres, Lajala and Ferreira. However, due to a conflict of interest with the Public Defender’s Office, he requested to withdraw from their cases and have outside counsel be appointed for each individual as the office is currently representing a material witness in the case on another matter.
Pagan-Torres, Lajala and Ferreira have been charged with one count each of accomplice to first-degree attempted murder, accomplice to not having a case or place to keep a revolver and criminal conspiracy for allegedly aiding in the days after the fatal shooting in Puna.
Waiki is accused of shooting and killing Officer Bronson Kaliloa on July 17 in the Mountain View area. According to police, Kaliloa was shot beside Highway 11 when he approached a vehicle during a traffic stop.
An islandwide manhunt for the 33-year-old immediately got underway. News of the officer’s death and law enforcement’s search for Waiki was highly publicized locally and statewide.
Days into their search, police found Waiki hiding under a blanket in the back part of a Toyota 4Runner allegedly driven by Pagan-Torres on South Point Road on Friday. Lajala and Ferreira were also in the vehicle at the time.
The suspects were stopped after a roadblock had been set up on South Point Road that morning after police received information that Waiki might be in the area. According to the state’s motion, authorities were able to track Waiki to South Point after pinging cellphones of his known associates.
During the stop, officers with the Special Response Team approached the vehicle. When an SRT sergeant, a 12-year police veteran, lifted the back hatch of the car, Waiki “emerged from under the blanket and shot the officer.” The SRT officers returned fire, fatally striking Waiki. A 35-year-old woman had also been hiding with Waiki. She was injured in the shooting.
“None of the defendants informed the officers that Waiki was in the SUV, that he had a gun, or that he intended to shoot officers,” the prosecutor’s motion states. “In addition, after learning via Facebook that officers setting a roadblock on South Point Road.”
The motion indicates that the defendants related to officers after their arrest that they knew Waiki was in the car and had a firearm. The woman who was with Waiki in the back stated to police that Waiki told her “he was going to shoot it out with police.”
According to the motion, Lajala, Ferreira and Pagan-Torres covered them with a blank and put stuff on top of them to hide.
The woman who hid with Waiki also told police that prior to the incident, she had held onto a gun for Waiki while he went swimming at the beach in South Point. “She recalled that Waiki kept it in a small brown bag with extra rounds.”
In connection to this incident, Pagan-Torres was also charged with two counts of violating probation and Lajala was charged with two counts of third-degree promoting dangerous drugs, police said Sunday evening.
Police are now also looking for four people who may have provided assistance to Waiki while on the run after he shot and killed Kaliloa.
Sought at this time are 31-year-old Joey Ikaka Camacho, of no known address, 47-year-old Shaun Candaroma of Hilo, and 26-year-old Pomaikai Martin and 27-year-old Latoya Poepoe-Spalding, both of Kings Landing in Hilo.
Anyone with information about the whereabouts of these individuals should contact Detective William Brown of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at 961-2384 or William.firstname.lastname@example.org.