East Hawaii News

Hilo Beach Park Stabbing Suspect Claims Self-Defense

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The attorney for the man accused of attempted murder in Saturday’s stabbing incident at a Hilo beach park today said his client was acting in self-defense.

Paul Michael Gibson, who was charged with a total of 11 counts in connection with the incident at James Kealoha Beach Park, made an initial court appearance today before District Court Judge Diana Van De Car.

His attorney, Michael Zola, asked Van De Car to reduce Gibson’s $374,000 bail, saying that he had previously represented Gibson in child custody matters and that his client is a “respectable gentleman.”

Noting Gibson is a contractor who owns several homes, Zola said while it was not impossible that Gibson could make bail, he asked Van De Car to grant him supervised release.

“I know him to be a reliable and trustworthy citizen,” Zola said.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Patricia Loo told Van De Car that while she wasn’t disputing Zola’s claims, she said that Gibson displayed “uncontrolled or undisciplined actions” on Saturday by stabbing the victim at least seven times.


Van De Car ruled that Gibson’s bail would remain unchanged, and scheduled a preliminary hearing for him for 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Gibson, a 46-year-old Ocean View resident, remained in custody this afternoon at Hawaii Community Correctional Center.

According to arrest affidavits filed with the court, Gibson on Saturday stabbed 41-year-old David Coombs with a 6-inch knife multiple times in the left and rear mid-section.

Coombs’ 50-year-old wife, Alicia Coombs, told police that Gibson approached her husband and stabbed him multiple times in the torso, according to the documents (which at times also spelled Coombs as “Coombes.”)

The documents said Alicia Coombs reported that Gibson also pointed a cocked black handgun at her husband’s head, and also threatened to shoot her.


After the altercation, Gibson left the area also known as 4-Mile Beach Park and headed toward Hilo on a black motorcycle.

Paul Gibson glances at the gallery following  his hearing today in District Court. Photo by Dave Smith.

Paul Gibson glances at the gallery following his hearing today in District Court. Photo by Dave Smith.

According to a court document, a police officer responding to the scene observed blood on a man riding a motorcycle and gave chase.

The motorcycle passed two cars and continued traveling down Kalanianaole Avenue “at a high rate of speed,” it said.

The officer followed the motorcycle onto Kanoelehua Avenue and then down Kekuanaoa Street. From there it turned left on Laukapu Street and stopped at the intersection with Lanikaula Street, where Gibson was arrested.

Alicia Coombs reported to police that an “unknown bystander” had observed Gibson throwing an object into the bushes off Apapane Road, which loops off Kalanianaole Avenue in the area of Onekehakeha Beach Park.


According to the documents, police found a loaded Walther P-22 semi-automatic pistol located 46 feet off Apapane Road.

The documents said Gibson is prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because of three previous felony convictions in Hawaii.

The documents had conflicting information about Gibson’s criminal record, saying at one point that Gibson had two felony convictions in Hawaii 1996 and another in 2000, while stating elsewhere that he had only one felony conviction in Hawaii, in 1995.

Five of the offenses Gibson was charged with Monday involve firearms.

He is also charged with assault, two counts of terroristic threatening, resisting an order to stop and failing to provide a DNA sample.

Following today’s hearing, Zola told Big Island Now that the matter is a “very strong case of self-defense.”

“It will come out that he was attacked by a very large person,” said Zola, who then showed reporters a photo on his cell phone of a large man sitting in a vehicle who he said was the man who had attacked Gibson.

“Mr. Gibson was on the bottom and there were threats against his life and he had no choice but to do what he did,” Zola said.

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