Police ID man killed in officer-involved shooting in Puna

KAILUA-KONA — A 42-year-old man is dead following an officer-involved shooting Tuesday evening in Puna.

The man has been identified as Bert E. Mercado, of Hawaiian Beaches, according to Hawaii Police.

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Hawaii Police officers responded about 5:15 p.m. to a Kahakai Boulevard address in Hawaiian Beaches after receiving a report of a 42-year-old man who had stabbed himself with a knife. According to police, when officers arrived at the scene, they were confronted by a man bearing a rifle.

Police said in a statement that officers ordered the man to drop the rifle, but the man then pointed the weapon at the officers, who then fired their duty weapons at the man. The man then retreated inside the home.

A safety perimeter was set up around the home, police said, and nearby residents were evacuated to a safe location.

Police say the incident was then treated as a barricaded subject with a firearm. The Special Response Team was then sent to the scene and a crisis negotiator attempted, unsuccessfully, to establish communication with the man.

Officers entered the home around 7 p.m. and discovered the man inside, deceased. No other occupants were in the house and no one else, including officers, was injured, police said.

The department said four officers discharged their firearms during the incident. It’s not yet known how many bullets hit the man, whose identity is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

The officers’ individual time of law enforcement experience range from less than a year to 13 years.

An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death. Terroristic threatening and unattended death investigations have been opened.

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As is standard practice in any police shooting, the department’s Area I Criminal Investigations Section will conduct a criminal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the shooting and associated death investigation. The Office of Professional Standards will conduct an administrative investigation.

Anyone who witnessed the incident who has information should call the department’s nonemergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Jesse Kerr at 961-2379 or jesse.kerr@hawaiicounty.gov. Those who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

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