HILO, Hawaii – Chief Paul Ferreira of the Hawaii County Police Department in the state of Hawaii sadly reports the death of Officer Bronson Kaliloa.

Officer Kaliloa was shot and fatally wounded as he and other officers conducted a felony traffic stop on a wanted subject at 9:45 p.m. Tuesday, KHON reported.

As officers approached the vehicle, the suspect exited and immediately commenced firing upon officers. Kaliloa was struck in the neck and leg by the suspect’s gunfire. The suspect then fled the scene on foot and remains at large.

Kaliloa was transported to Hilo Medical Center where he underwent emergency surgery but succumbed to his wounds shortly after midnight.

The suspect has been identified as Justin Joshua Puamoiwalei Waiki, 33, according to several news outlets.

The FBI is now offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Waiki, reported Hawaii News Now.

Chief Ferreira said Kaliloa transferred to Puna in 2010, and was recognized as “officer of the year” for the district in 2014.

“This has been the worst event in my career,” Ferreira said at a news conference Wednesday, holding back tears. “This was an officer, a father, a son, a husband. Put a face to the name.”

He added, “We will persevere. We will do what we need to do.”

Bronson Kaliloa

Hawaii County Police Officer Bronson Kaliloa died in the line of duty Tuesday night. (Image via Big Island Video News)

Officer Kaliloa served the Hawaii County Police Department for 10 years. His wife and three young children survive him.

His family released the following statement:

Bronson Kaliloa loved the Lord with all his heart and in his image he was a Proud Father of 3, ages 7, 4 and 3, an Adoring and Loving Husband and Devoted Son.

Passionate about serving his Lord and Community, he was always making sure people felt loved and respected.

He’ll leave his family and friends a true example of one who unconditionally loves.

Kaliloa grew up on Kauai and graduated from Waimea High School in 1990. He spent several years on Oahu, working as a city bus driver, before he moved to Hawaii island.

Kaliloa joined the Hawaii Police Department on Aug. 1, 2008. He started his career in the South Kohala patrol division, and transferred to the Puna division in 2010. In 2014, Kaliloa was honored as Officer of the Year for the Puna district.

According to his father, Kaliloa always felt it was his duty to serve, especially the Puna community.

A family friend says Kaliloa also showed his compassion for others when lava started to erupt in Pahoa. He was stationed at the checkpoints and always went out of his way to help.

“There’s a lot of aloha that went out to him from all the people that had any contact with him during the eruption,” said Kale Gumapac. “They really, really liked him, and like I said, it’s a loss to the community that we lose a young man with so much aloha for the community.”

Waiki is described as 5’10” in height, and around 160 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. He has a tattoo in the front center of his neck. He was last seen wearing a white T-shirt and dark colored jacket.

Police say Waiki is to be considered armed and dangerous and should not be approached.

The suspect’s last known address is in Las Vegas, though police say he is now a Hawaii island resident and has lived in Puna, Hamakua, and Hilo. He has 37 arrests for various offenses with 16 convictions. Three of those were felonies.

Waiki’s picture has been distributed to security at the airports to prevent him from leaving Hawaii island.

Tommy Aiu, HNN law enforcement expert, said the shooting underscores just how dangerous it is to be a police officer.

“Nowadays, traffic stops and domestic violence calls are the most dangerous things an officer can become involved in because you never know what you’re going to encounter,” Aiu said. “It could be a simple ticket turned more deadly or dangerous.”

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call the police at 935-3311 or those who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300.

Officer Bronson K. Kaliloa is gone but will never be forgotten.

EOW: Wednesday, July 18, 2018.