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MANHUNT: Cops search for suspected gunman who escaped into brush after fatally shooting officer during traffic stop

Authorities in Hawaii were looking for a suspect Tuesday evening after a police officer was gunned down during a traffic stop.

According to Fox News, the incident occurred at around 9:45 p.m. in Hawaii County, only about 20 miles from the area damaged by an active volcano eruption.

Local authorities released a statement indicating that the officer involved initiated a traffic stop of a vehicle being driven by 33-year-old Justin Waiki in Mountain View.

During the encounter, police say the suspect fired multiple shots at Hawaii County police officer Bronson K. Kaliloa. There were reportedly other officers present who fired their weapons at Waiki.

Kaliloa was critically injured, sustaining gunshot wounds to his neck and leg. The officer was transported to the Hilo Medical Center and underwent emergency surgery but was pronounced dead a shot time later.

Fellow officers recognized his bravery several years ago when he was named Officer of the Month for “his superb investigative skills in capturing a dangerous convicted felon with a loaded firearm,” which “prevented a potentially violent end to the incident.”

He is survived by a wife and three young children.

Waiki reportedly evaded police on foot, escaping into after a short chase into a nearby area of undergrowth.

Dozens of police cruisers were joined by an armored vehicle at the scene shortly after the shooting. Authorities were still searching for the suspect as of the latest reports available.

Investigators say Waiki is 5 foot 11 inches tall and was wearing a red T-shirt with a dark jacket at the time of the shooting.

He is believed to have last had a permanent address in Las Vegas, Nevada, and reportedly has an outstanding no bail warrant for his arrest.

Anyone who believes they know his whereabouts is urged not to approach and to consider him armed and potentially dangerous.

[Featured image: Bronson K. Kaliloa and Justin Waiki, Hawaii County Police Department]