Answering the call of duty

LIHUE — Capt. Bryson Ponce and Detective Darren Rose were recognized as officers of the month by Police Chief Darryl Perry and the County of Kauai Police Commission last Friday at a Police Commission meeting.

The Investigative Services Bureau nominated the officers for their work in capturing the suspect wanted in a murder investigation.

In the early morning hours of Sept. 26, the body of Gary Allianic Jr. was found stabbed to death in a Lihue parking lot.

Patrol officers and detectives conducted an islandwide search throughout the day in an attempt to locate the suspect, but found no sign of him. Ponce and Rose, acting on a hunch, combed the area near the Historic County Building and located the suspect, Keola Francisco Manuel, at about 6 p.m.

Manuel attempted to run from the two officers but they caught him, and, following a brief struggle, detained Manuel and brought him into custody.

“In the immediate hours following the discovery of the victim’s lifeless body, it was the department’s highest priority to capture the person or persons responsible for his death,” Perry said. “Having no immediate leads, officers conducted an outstanding investigation to not only identify the suspect but bring him into custody by day’s end. While it was a true team effort, we recognize Capt. Ponce and detetive Rose for ultimately locating and capturing Keola Manuel and allowing our community to feel a sense of relief.”

Manuel is now on trial for the murder of Allianic.

Last month, Perry and the Police Commission recognized Detective Anthony Morita for his response when a man went missing off the coast of Makaha, Oahu, on June 12.

The man’s body was found four days later in waters off Kauai, and Morita was responsible for informing the family of the discovery. The family later expressed their gratitude to Morita for his gentle compassion and willingness to be available at all hours to answer questions. They recognized him for making a positive impact during a time of mourning.

Also in June, Morita was assigned a case involving the electronic enticement of a child. During the course of his investigation, Morita identified numerous witnesses and multiple victims. The information he obtained led him to identify an adult male suspect who was later arrested on suspicion of multiple offenses related to sexual assault and electronic enticement of a child.

The case remains under investigation.

“The duties of a police officer go far beyond enforcing laws,” Perry said. “Detective Morita exemplifies the type of compassion and professionalism that helps to build a better department and a better community, and we are grateful for his service.”

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