Honolulu police back in court after fatal shooting of teen

Posted at 6:45 PM, July 20, 2021 and last updated 9:22 PM, May 16, 2023


HONOLULU (AP) — A judge is scheduled to hear from witnesses Tuesday to determine whether there is probable cause for murder and attempted murder charges against three Honolulu police officers in a shooting that killed a 16-year-old Micronesian boy.

On April 5, police shot and killed Iremamber Sykap. Authorities said he was driving a stolen car linked to an armed robbery, burglary, purse-snatching and car theft. Sykap led officers on a chase immediately before the shooting, police said.

Honolulu Police officer Geoffrey Thom, left, Gregory Fredeluces, and Zackary Ah Nee in court Friday, June 25, 2021, in Honolulu. Three Honolulu police officers appeared in court on Friday to face charges in connection with the fatal shooting of a 16-year-old Micronesian boy, the first cases of their kind against law enforcement in the city in more than 40 years. The officers were not asked to enter pleas during the hearing, when they were officially informed of the charges that they face. (Craig T. Kojima/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP)

Officer Geoffrey Thom, whom prosecutors said fired 10 rounds at Sykap through the rear window of the car after it stopped at an intersection, is charged with murder. Fellow Officers Zackary Ah Nee and Christopher Fredeluces, who also opened fire, are charged with second-degree attempted murder.

But before the hearing can start, the judge will also consider a dismissal motion by an attorney for one of the officers who argues it was improper for prosecutors to seek charges via a preliminary hearing after a grand jury refused to indict them.

The judge will also take up a motion by another officer’s lawyer arguing that the prosecutor should be disqualified for signing the declaration attached to the criminal complaint because doing so makes him a witness in the case.

Prosecutors have said both motions are meritless. There’s multiple ways to pursue felony charges, including having a judge determine the likelihood that a crime was committed, prosecutors said. And putting together a summary of what witnesses described about the shooting doesn’t make the prosecutor a witness, they said in court documents.

A group of officers and other supporters of the statewide police union are planning to gather at the courthouse Tuesday, as are those who decry the shooting and want to see the three officers prosecuted.