South Kohala police officer honored for lifesaving actions

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A 10-year veteran of the Hawai‘i Police Department was recently honored by the Hawai‘i Island Security and Safety Professionals Association for his quick lifesaving actions in two different incidents.

South Kohala officer Robert McKay Jr. was named the association’s Officer of the Quarter for the third quarter of this year.

Officer Robert McKay Jr. and Sgt. Thomas Chun-Ming. Photo courtesy of the Hawai‘i Police Department.

The Police Department said in a media release about the award that McKay cares deeply for the welfare and well-being of everyone within the community, with an emphasis on keiki and those with developmental disabilities.

On the evening of Aug. 15, Central Dispatch received a report of a 15-year-old female attempting to commit suicide at a Waimea residence. Familiar with the parties involved through prior contacts, McKay responded as fast and safely as possible in hopes of preventing the child from harming herself. While on his way to the residence, he learned the teen locked herself in a bathroom and she was not breathing.


Upon arriving at the home, McKay ran into the house and observed the child’s mother knocking on the bathroom door, getting no response. He immediately breached the door and observed the unresponsive teen. McKay was able to revive the girl and consoled her until Hawai‘i Fire Department medics arrived to treat her.

Based on his investigative skills and knowledge gained during past interactions, McKay was concerned that the child needed immediate intervention and placement to prevent a second suicide attempt. He contacted Hawai‘i Child Welfare Services and informed the agency of the facts and circumstances related to the incident.

“Without McKay’s rapid action and compassion, this situation could have ended in tragedy,” the media release said.


Roughly two weeks later, on Sept. 1, McKay once again responded to a life-or-death situation, this time a report of a stabbing at a Waikōloa resort. It was reported that a woman was stabbed and trapped with the suspect in the same room.

McKay was the first officer on scene. When he arrived at the hotel room he saw the victim’s room door partially open with profuse amounts of blood smeared over the floor. He then spotted the victim drenched in blood behind the door. Recognizing that the victim needed immediate medical attention to save her life and knowing the suspect was in the room with a weapon, McKay entered the room in search of the suspect.

Observing an exorbitant amount of blood in several areas of the room, McKay discovered the suspect lying in the bedroom of the suite unresponsive. Scanning the dark area for a weapon, McKay initially did not see a serrated steak knife near the suspect’s feet. Determining that the suspect was alive but unconscious, he secured the suspect and placed him on his side to prevent asphyxiation and choking, which prompted the suspect to vomit.


McKay retrieved some towels and returned to the victim, instructing her to apply firm pressure to the stab wounds to stop the bleeding. He then alerted emergency medical services that the scene was safe. EMS medics responded to the scene and transported the victim to an area hospital.

The Police Department media release said McKay undoubtedly saved the lives of the victim and suspect with his rapid response, quick thinking and courage to enter a deadly situation alone with very little information.

The suspect was subsequently charged with second-degree attempted murder and remains in the custody of the Hawai‘i Department of Public Safety.

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