HONOLULU (AP) _ A 17-year-old charged with killing a police officer has been awarded a police Certificate of Merit for helping catch a burglary suspect.

Gabriel Kealoha, a high school senior, is accused of pushing an off-duty officer to his death from a freeway viaduct Oct. 27. The two are believed to have scuffled after a traffic accident; authorities said the officer had been drinking alcohol.

Kealoha's commendation, signed Thursday by Chief Michael Nakamura, was for helping his aunt catch and detain a burglary suspect on Oct. 2. Police spokeswoman Jean Motoyama said officials decided against a public presentation ceremony because of tense emotions over the officer's death.

Kealoha is in his parents' custody pending a January court decision on whether he will stand trial as an adult, where a conviction could mean life in prison.