Hawaii Police Crackdown Coming Following Shootout at Illegal Cockfight

Posted on: April 19, 2023, 07:33h. 

Last updated on: April 20, 2023, 02:16h.

A recent shootout at an illegal cockfight in Hawaii killed two people. The controversial sport is now attracting some unwanted attention again.

Two roosters square off in a cockfight
Two roosters square off in a cockfight. A recent illegal fight in Hawaii left two dead and will lead to a police crackdown. (Image: Canva)

The incident occurred this past Saturday just outside of Honolulu, according to local media reports. Details are sparse, but reports indicate that a shootout broke out between the participants and attendees. During the melee, a man and a woman died. Three others received non-life-threatening gunshot wounds, according to media reports from Honolulu Police Department Lt. Deena Thoemmes.

The victims were allegedly not part of the fight and were caught in the crossfire. None of the victims was named, although the two casualties were 34 and 59 years old, respectively. The three wounded range from 38 to 57 and are recovering from the attack.

The fights regularly attract hundreds of attendees and bettors, with over $100K routinely changing hands. Those behind the fights are often international drug traffickers and gangs who would have no trouble silencing someone for the price of a bullet. Because most of the attendees are locals, everyone knows who’s who.

Police have yet to identify the shooter. The only lead is that he’s local and in his mid-20s.

Cockfighting Crackdown

Police in Hawaii vow to begin concerted effort to identify and shut down illegal cockfights, which have strong roots in the culture. Some locals grew up around the bloody battles as part of their everyday lives and still don’t see them as an issue.

The fights in Hawaii can be traced back more than 150 years. Cockfights were extremely popular in Spain, and still are in some regions today, before the Spaniards took them to the Philippines. From there, Filipino sailors and merchants imported them into Hawaii, where the contests quickly grabbed roots and became a standard fixture.

That may change following the firefight that occurred this past weekend. It has been dubbed the worst shooting in the state’s history and some fear that it could suggest that more violence is on its way.

Last month, law enforcement officials raided a cockfight in Kealakekua, according to Hawaii News Now. There were allegedly around 800 people in attendance, which emphasizes the popularity of the events. During the raid, the police seized pistols, rifles, and illegal drugs.

Violence on the Rise?

The recent shooting has been dubbed the worst shooting in the state’s recent history. But widespread violence is uncommon in Hawaii’s idyllic islands. The last major shooting involved one death and two injuries in 2011. In 1997, seven people were murdered in a Xerox office.

But the idea that armed violence might rise in Hawaii has merit. The number of registered firearms in the state is increasing, according to reports from the Associated Press, citing Hawaii’s attorney general’s office.

Over the past two decades, firearm registration has jumped 319%. Of course, this figure does not capture any potential unregistered or illegal weapon ownership in the state.