A barrage of flashing lights and sirens caught the attention of hundreds of people Tuesday morning along the Ala Wai Boulevard.
"I heard tires screeching and the sound of a car hitting into another car," said witness Chris Dickerson.
Police say the episode began just before 4 a.m. when officers spotted the driver of a blue Dodge pickup speeding the wrong way down Nahua Street.
When the pickup stopped on a sidewalk on Kuhio Avenue, the officers approached.
That's when police say the driver, identified as a 22-year-old soldier from Schofield Barracks, stepped on the gas and drove right at an officer.
"The officer fired multiple shots at the truck as it drove towards him, narrowly missing him," said Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha.
The soldier then drove onto Lewers Street and was eventually surrounded by patrol cars on the Ala Wai Boulevard. That's when two other officers opened fire.
"The suspect began ramming several marked police vehicles before officers fired, striking the driver," said Chief Kealoha.
A witness with a bird's eye view said even her adrenaline was on overdrive as she watched the incident unfold.
"I feared for the lives of the police officers because even those in the car were in danger because his truck was continuing to hit the cars," said Dickerson.
Although it's clear the suspect was not giving himself up and continued to smash patrol car as he was surrounded, defense attorney Don Wilkerson says police must act reasonably when using deadly force.
"It does appear that they had the soldier's vehicle cornered. The question then was anyone's life in danger, or were they subject to bodily injury?" asked Wilkerson.
Honolulu police stand by the three officers who fired their 9mm handguns.
The soldier was pronounced dead at the Queen's Medical Center.
"It appears that the officers acted properly to contain that situation to minimize the danger to the public," said Maj. Richard Robinson.
"I'm very pleased that none of our citizens were hurt while we were trying to neutralize the incident. They did a good job," said Chief Kealoha.
The soldier has not been publicly identified. We know he served in Afghanistan, but had been back on Oahu for about a year.
Three officers were injured in the ramming incident. They were treated and released.
The officers who fired their weapons are on paid administrative leave -- standard procedure after a shooting.