East Hawaii News

Asuncion Held For Three Attempts To Kill Cops

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Riley Asuncion appeared in Hilo District Court Thursday where he faced three counts of first-degree attempted murder after allegedly trying to run down police officers during an investigation on Stainback Highway Monday.

Assuncion was also charged with third-degree assault and vehicle theft charges related to an alleged attack on a woman and theft of her vehicle that led to the alleged assaults on police.

Asuncion, 38, of Puna, allegedly hid in the back seat of the car belonging to the woman he knew, then pulled her hair and punched her repeatedly before gaining control of the pink Toyota 4-Runner on Kilauea Avenue in downtown Hilo. While he gained control of the vehicle, the woman was able to escape near Kawailani Street, according to the affadavit presented in court today by deputy Prosecutor Tharrington Trusdell.

Officers responding to witness reports of an apparent domestic incident found the vehicle in the Panaewa area of Hilo, where Asuncion allegedly tried to ram a police vehicle and fled to Stainback Highway. He pulled onto a side road and turned around, then allegedly drove toward police officers Jerome Duarte and Gibson Kahele, who had exited their patrol cars and were in fear for their lives, the affidavit said.


Officer Jerome Duarte unholstered his firearm and yelled “POLICE STOP” at the approaching vehicle, the affidavit said. Three shots were fired and Asuncion received a superficial wound in the right rib area, police had reported earlier.

The vehicle continued down the highway a short distance before stopping and Asuncion was apprehended. Police said he was treated at Hilo Medical Center for treatment before being released Monday night.

Dressed in the HCCC inmate’s brown jumpsuit in court on Thursday, Asuncion did not exhibit any outward signs of the wound.


Judge Harry T. Freitas ordered Assuncion to appear at a preliminary hearing on July 28 and set bail at more than $1.5 million. Each count of first-degree attempted murder carries a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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