Hostage Incident Suspect Transported to O‘ahu Hospital

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A Pāhoa man arrested Tuesday afternoon, Dec. 19, 2017, in connection with a hostage situation in Puna was flown to an Oʻahu hospital for additional treatment of his injuries.

At 5:39 a.m. that morning, police responded to a report of a shooting on Nohea Street in the Leilani Estates Subdivision on Hawai‘i Island. Officers located the victim, a 25-year-old Keaʻau man, on the side of the roadway with multiple gunshot wounds to his body.

The victim told police that he and his 30-year-old female passenger were being followed by a blue sport-utility vehicle in the Leilani Estates Subdivision that was driven by the suspect. Both vehicles stopped on Nohea Street where the two men got into a confrontation on the roadway.

Following an argument, the victim was reportedly shot several times by the suspect, who then ordered the woman into the suspect’s SUV before fleeing the area. The victim was transported by ambulance to the Hilo Medical Center, where he remains in stable condition.


An officer encountered the suspect’s SUV turning into a residence on Leilani Avenue. As the officer approached the driveway on foot, he heard several gunshots coming from the vicinity of the residence. The officer was forced to leave his vehicle on the roadway and establish a perimeter on foot with the assistance of other responding officers. The officer was not injured.

Police asked neighboring residents to evacuate the area for their own safety and the department’s Special Response Team was called to the scene.

The incident was treated as a hostage situation after investigators learned the suspect barricaded himself in the residence with the 30-year-old woman along with four juvenile females. During the standoff, intermittent gunshots fired from the residence struck the unattended police vehicle that was left on the roadway.


The standoff ended around 2 p.m., when the suspect, 33-year-old Jovin Chang, walked out to Leilani Avenue with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his face. A rifle was later recovered from the property.

Chang was arrested for second-degree attempted murder and immediately taken to a staging ambulance. He was transported to the Hilo Medical Center in critical condition under police escort.

Due to the seriousness of his injuries, Chang was released from police custody later that evening when he was flown to Oʻahu for further treatment. He remains at the Queen’s Medical Center and has since been upgraded to serious condition.


The hostages, who are all related to Chang, were found to be physically unharmed.

Anyone who witnessed this incident or may information about it is asked to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311 or Detective Grant Todd of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at (808) 961-2381 or [email protected].

This information was provided by the authorities. All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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