BY JIM DOOLEY – Federal agent Christopher Deedy “appeared intoxicated and was slurring his words” when he fatally shot Kollin Elderts during an altercation last year inside a Waikiki fast food restaurant, according to prosecutors.
Deedy “ended up at McDonald’s after a night of drinking” and shot Elderts, 23, during a violent early morning argument November 5, 2011, according to a court memo filed by Deputy Prosecutor Jan Futa.
Deedy’s defense lawyer, Brook Hart, has argued for dismissal of the case on the grounds that the shooting was a justified use of force and that Deedy acted in his capacity as a federal law enforcement officer.
Hart declined comment on Futa’s memo today, saying he was unable to discuss the case outside of court but will file a written response by the end of this week or early next week.
“Everybody will be able to judge then whether there was any inebriation,” Hart said.
Futa’s memo said that Deedy “was not at McDonald’s pursuing any official duties.”
Deedy and two friends had been “bar-hopping” that night, first in Waikiki, then in downtown Honolulu and then at two more bars in Waikiki, Moose McGillicuddy’s and Coconut Willy’s, according to Futa.
Deedy purchased a round of drinks at the latter two bars before he and his friends set off for another bar, Nashville, stopping first for food at the McDonald’s restaurant on Kuhio Avenue, the memo said.
A security officer with the U.S. State Department, Deedy was carrying his 9 mm Glock handgun. Futa said carrying a service weapon while consuming alcohol is prohibited by State Department rules.
Deedy and Elderts became involved in a verbal confrontation inside McDonald’s.
A U.S. Marine, Alexander Byrd, was in the restaurant and “attempted to break up” the exchange between Deedy and Elderts, according to Futa.
Deedy “appeared intoxicated and was slurring his words,” Futa’s memo said.
“During the argument, (Deedy) told Elderts that he had a gun and he would shoot Elderts in the face,” the prosecutor said.
The two men grappled with each other and exchanged blows. After Deedy was knocked to the floor by a punch to the face, he drew his weapon and fired three rounds, said Futa.
One bullet “narrowly missed a customer” and struck a wall. The second hit another wall and the third struck Elderts in the chest, Futa said in the memo.
“At no time was defendant heard to identify himself as a law enforcement officer or federal agent,” the memo said.
“Rather than leave the restaurant or attempt to mollify the situation, (Deedy) escalated the altercation from physical to deadly,” the prosecutor said.
“Defendant’s wanton and aggressive conduct that preceded him shooting Elderts further highlights the
unreasonableness of his use of deadly force,” Futa said in the memo.
Hart’s motion to dismiss the indictment of Deedy is scheduled for argument before Circuit Judge Karen Ahn in January.
Hart has repeatedly argued that a McDonald’s surveillance videotape of the shooting will show that Elderts was the aggressor and that Deedy displayed his law enforcement credentials before he was physically attacked by Elderts.
Judge Ahn has sealed the videotape from public view, arguing that disclosure of its contents could prejudice prospective jurors in the murder case.
Hart has not discussed his client’s alcohol consumption the night of the killing. Deedy declined to submit to alcohol testing after he was taken to a hospital for treatment of injuries received during the fight with Elderts.
Elderts and friend Shane Medeiros had been drinking in downtown Honolulu before they arrived at McDonald’s at 2:30 a.m., Futa said in her memo.
An autopsy showed Elderts was legally drunk and had used cocaine and marijuana before he died.