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HPD Officer Honored for Diffusing Situation Involving Weapons

October 14, 2021, 8:19 AM HST
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A Hawaiʻi police officer was honored for his ability to successfully diffuse a “tense situation” involving weapons on Old Saddle Road over the summer.

On Oct. 8, Officer Cacique Melendez was recognized by the Hawai‘i Island Security and Safety Professionals Association (HISSPA) as HISSPA Officer of the Quarter for Q3 2021 during a ceremony in the Waikoloa Resort area.

Rachelle Hennings (VASH), Officer Cacique Melendez, Sergeant Thomas Chun-Ming, Kelly Ah Hee (HISSPA). PC: Hawaiʻi Police Department

The honor stems from a June 20, 2021, incident when Melendez responded to a man who was reportedly shooting a rifle near a cargo van just above Highway 190.

“Upon arrival, Officer Melendez saw the man holding the rifle with both hands and that the man also had a revolver holstered on his right hip,” according to an HPD press release. “Giving clear commands in a calm voice, Officer Melendez was able to diffuse the tense situation and take the suspect into custody without incident.”

Through the course of the investigation, the release indicates Melendez determined that the handgun the man possessed was a black powder revolver that had been modified to shoot modern ammunition.

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“After obtaining the suspect’s permission to search the van, he also found an open container of alcohol,” the release states. “Officer Melendez determined that the suspect had placed a target on private property and was shooting his guns from a gated area close to the road.”

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Working with state and federal agencies, Melendez determined that the suspect was shooting on federal property and had previously been warned to stay off the property. The suspect was subsequently charged with two counts of place to keep a weapon and one count of registration mandatory.

During the ceremony last week, Melendez was lauded for resolving a tense situation that officials say could have easily spiraled out of control resulting in injury or worse.

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