East Hawaii News

Driver Injured in Police Shooting Faces More Counts

July 22, 2014, 5:57 PM HST
* Updated July 22, 5:59 PM
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A Pahoa man injured while allegedly attempting to run down two police officers Monday faces additional charges in connection with the incident.

Riley Asuncion, 38, was released Monday night from Hilo Medical Center where he was treated for a bruise to his torso. Asuncion sustained the injury when two officers on foot fired at his vehicle as he allegedly drove it toward them on Stainback Highway at around noon Monday.

Asuncion, who was initially arrested for terroristic threatening, was arrested Monday night on suspicion of attempted first-degree murder and two counts of attempted second-degree murder for allegedly threatening the officers with his vehicle.

First-degree attempted murder, which can be pursued when the victim is an on-duty law enforcement officer, carries a penalty of life in prison without possibility of parole.

Asuncion was also arrested on suspicion of unauthorized entry of a motor vehicle, vehicle theft and assault for an incident that started shortly before noon on Monday.

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In that incident, passersby reported to police what they thought was a domestic dispute in a pink sports utility vehicle traveling from downtown to the Panaewa area of Hilo.

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The 30-year-old female victim, described by police as an acquaintance of Asuncion’s, managed to escape from the SUV before police located and began to pursue it. Police later located her in Hilo.

Police responding to that report shortly before 11:30 a.m. located the vehicle but its driver then drove off.

Police followed the SUV to Stainback Highway, where it turned around on a side road and headed toward the two officers who had gotten out of their patrol vehicles.

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The officers responded by firing three shots at the oncoming SUV, which continued down Stainback Highway. It stopped a short distance later and the suspect fled into the bushes.

Asuncion was located a short time later, arrested and taken to Hilo Medical Center.

He has been held at the Hilo police cellblock since his release from the hospital at about 7 p.m. Monday.

Police have not identified the officers involved in the shooting, but said one is a six-year veteran and the other has been with the department for about a year.

Both have been placed on desk duty while the police department conducts both criminal and administrative investigations of the incident.

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