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Homicide suspect Chris Santos arrested in Kekaha

KEKAHA — A multi-agency manhunt for homicide suspect Chris Santos ended violently late Sunday evening.

Santos, 48, was taken into custody after he was injured in an officer-involved shooting in the vicinity of Kekaha Beach Park. He was then transported to Wilcox Medical Center in Lihu‘e for treatment, the Kaua‘i Police Department (KPD) said on Monday.

He was in stable condition at the medical center, and in the custody of the KPD. Santos faces a charge of Attempted Murder in the First Degree, Attempted Murder in the Second Degree, as well as other felonies stemming from the incident.

The ordeal started at approximately 10:20 p.m. on Sunday when Santos was spotted operating a motor vehicle about one-quarter mile west of Akaloa Road and Kaumuali‘i Highway Junction.

“Unfortunately, despite several efforts to encourage Mr. Santos to peacefully surrender to police, his actions during contact with law enforcement officers resulted in an officer involved shooting,” said KPD Chief Todd G. Raybuck in a statement on Monday.

No officers were injured in the incident, which also led to the closure of Kaumuali‘i Highway at mile marker 27. The highway has since been reopened.

The arrest of Santos marks the end of a lengthy manhunt, in which the KPD was assisted by the FBI and U.S. Marshals Service.

Santos was being sought for the fatal shooting of Kith Silva-Lacro, 28, of Kalaheo, on Thursday, Sept. 7. The shooting was reported at about 10:45 p.m on Kahili Mountain Road, the KPD said.

The incident also involved a second victim, who is listed in stable condition at an undisclosed hospital. Santos has been wanted in connection with the murder since Sept. 8, when a warrant for his arrest was issued.

The manhunt also produced a number of other concerning moments, including on Friday when authorities followed up on a lead that Santos could be in the westside of the island.

That potential development led authorities to employ lockdowns at multiple schools — Kekaha Elementary, Waimea High, Waimea Canyon Middle School and Eleele Elementary — at approximately 2:15 p.m. as a precaution.

“As the majority of students had already left these campuses at the end of the school day, students in after-school athletics and extracurricular programs were secured in campus facilities until clearance was received from the Kauai Police Department,” said Kauai Complex Area Superintendent Daniel S. Hamada in a statement on Friday.

“School administrators and staff worked in close coordination with officers on-site and all students were kept safe and secure. The safety of our students is a major priority and we are committed to providing secure campuses. I would like to commend our students, families, teachers and staff for their cooperation.”

The search for Santos previously led law enforcement authorities to close off Ma‘alo Road by Wailua Falls and Kuamo‘o Road near Wailua Reservoir early Wednesday morning. But after conducting an operation in connection with Santos, the roads were opened back up later in the morning.

The police department also received reports of different individuals providing transportation for Santos.

Those reports prompted the police department to remind people that providing such assistance is unlawful and punishable by up to five years in prison.

Santos, who has five prior felony convictions, was recently released from federal custody after being convicted of multiple crimes, including assaulting law enforcement officers and unlawful transport of firearms.
Source: The Garden Island

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