East Hawaii News

Hilo Police-Involved Shooting Under Investigation

March 1, 2015, 10:12 AM HST
* Updated March 1, 10:18 AM
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An officer-involved shooting that occurred just before midnight Saturday in downtown Hilo is being investigated by the Hawai’i Police Department.

Police say that at 11:57 p.m., two South Hilo Patrol officers in a marked police subsidized vehicle were struck by a silver late-model Chevy compact four-door sedan after it sped towards the police car in a threatening manner. Authorities say the incident occurred as the officers were leaving the area of the Kilauea Avenue extension and were stopped at the Mamo Street intersection.

After impacting the police vehicle, the car continued to travel in a north direction on the Kilauea Avenue extension and struck a parked car. A 27-year-old Ookala woman standing next to the vehicle was injured.

At that point, the two officers exited the police vehicle, the suspect reversed his vehicle towards the officers. As the car was reversing, both officers discharged their service weapons toward the vehicle.

The suspect then began traveling north on the Kilauea Avenue extension, turning left on Haili Street and making his way south on Kinoole Street.


Police pursued the suspect’s vehicle and stopped it at the intersection of Haihai Street and Kinoole Street.


Thirty-one-year-old James Salai of Hilo was arrested at the scene on suspicion of terroristic threatening.

Salai was taken to Hilo Medical Center by ambulance with apparent gunshot wounds. He has since been transferred to The Queen’s Medical Center on Oahu in critical condition.

The two officers, a 32-year-old with seven and a half years of experience and a 28-year-old with six month of experience, were uninjured.


Detectives with the Area I Criminal Investigations Section will conduct a criminal investigation into the shooting, as is standard practice in any officer involved shooting. The Office of Professional Standards will conduct an administrative investigation.

Anyone who may have witnessed the incident is asked to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Wendall Carter at 961-2378 or [email protected].

Individuals who prefer to remain anonymous can call the Big Island Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300.

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