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UPDATE: Police Detail Islandwide Crime Spree

August 21, 2019, 2:50 PM HST
* Updated August 21, 7:38 PM
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A suspect in a stolen county truck rammed several vehicles in traffic in Kailua Village on Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019, as he fled the scene of a shooting in the Kona Commons Shopping Center. PC: Gerardo Ibarra

7:06 PM

Hawaiʻi Police have arrested a Kailua-Kona man following a crime spree that spanned both East and West Hawaiʻi.

The suspect has been identified as 38-year-old Joshua Hams of Kailua-Kona. He has been arrested for multiple felony offenses at this time, although has not yet been charged, according to a HPD press release.

South Hilo patrol officers responded this morning to an 8:19 a.m call of a possibly mentally unstable male at a hotel on Banyan Drive in Hilo, police said. The reporting party stated that the male may be armed and was operating a dark-colored Honda SUV. Officers, after initially not being able to locate the male party, found the suspect just after 9:20 a.m. in the area of the hotel on Banyan Drive.

The driver of the vehicle refused to stop, and police did not continue to pursue the vehicle out of concern for public safety, the release said. A short time later, police responded to a call of a traffic accident with the same suspect vehicle and a dark colored Toyota truck at the intersection of Komohana Street and West Kawailani Street in Hilo. The driver of the Toyota truck was not injured in the accident, police said.

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At about 10:50 a.m., Kaʻū Patrol officers received a call reporting a male party in his mid to late 20s with no shirt and numerous tattoos walking on the side of the road just south of the Naʻalehu Police Station carrying a firearm. This description matched that of the earlier call of a possible mentally unstable male party from Hilo, the release continued.

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At about 10:52 a.m., Kaʻū Patrol officers responded to a report of a State of Hawaiʻi truck that was stolen from the State Highways baseyard in Kaʻū. The state truck was driven through several gates before heading out of the baseyard. The dark-colored Honda SUV wanted in the earlier traffic crash with the mentally unstable male call from Hilo was also located in the Kaʻū State Highways baseyard, police added.

At about 11:25 a.m., the stolen state truck sideswiped a dark colored Ford sedan headed north on Highway 11. The driver of the state truck also pointed a firearm at the driver of the Ford sedan before leaving the area northbound on Highway 11. The driver of the Ford sedan was not injured.

At about 11:36 a.m., the same suspect reportedly robbed a gas station at gunpoint near the 110-mile-marker on Route 11. He then left with an undisclosed amount of currency. No one was injured in the robbery, the release stated.

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At about 12:01 p.m., the stolen state vehicle is located by police in the area of Ahulani Street in Kailua-Kona. The suspect then fired a firearm out of the window of the vehicle and flees the area. No one was injured in this shooting, police said.

At about 12:13 p.m., the suspect in this case headed to a retail establishment on Makala Street in Kailua-Kona where he attempted to enter the locked front door. He then fired a round into the store, shattering the locked glass door. Once inside the store, the suspect removed several items and fled the area. No one was hurt in this robbery.

At about 12:18 p.m. the suspect reportedly struck several vehicles at the intersection of Kuakini Highway and Hualalani Road, police continued.

At about 12:24 p.m., the suspect in this case reportedly attempted to steal a car at gunpoint from a female party at a gas station on Lako Street in Kailua-Kona. He was unsuccessful in his attempt but was subsequently able to steal another vehicle, a dark colored SUV, at gunpoint from a another female victim at the same gas station. No one was harmed in this vehicle theft, police said.

Shortly after stealing the SUV, the suspect headed to a residence on Kalamauka Street and barricaded himself within said residence. Police located him on Kalamauka Street and the Hawaiʻi Police Special Response Team was activated and responded to the scene. At 1:39 p.m., the suspect was arrested by members of the police tactical team. No one was hurt during the incident and arrest, police explained.

This case is being investigated by the Area II Criminal Investigations Division and police ask that anyone with information call Detective Pernell Hanoa at (808) 326-4646, ext.281, or via email at [email protected].

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers does not record calls or subscribe to any Caller ID service. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

4 PM

The Hawai‘i Police Department (HPD) arrested a man in Holualoa Wednesday afternoon after he plowed through traffic in a stolen county vehicle.

The suspect, as of yet unidentified by police, reportedly stole a Hawai‘i County truck from a location in Ka‘ū earlier in the day. He was witnessed driving the truck away from the Kona Commons Shopping Center area, where gunshots were fired at the front door of an AT&T store located there. Police have confirmed the suspect and the shooting are connected.

Gerardo Ibarra, a Hawai‘i Island resident, was driving south on Queen Ka‘ahumanu Highway and Kaiwi Street around 12:15 p.m. when a county truck came flying onto the highway.

The suspect swerved, Ibarra said, nearly swiping the side of Ibarra’s vehicle and almost running him off the road. The truck continued driving erratically, speeding through the intersection at Palani Road and jumping over the curb before correcting, Ibarra said.

Ibarra saw no police in pursuit of the suspect as he tore down the highway, but Ibarra chose to follow the truck at a distance to gather more information. Both vehicles headed makai.

Ibarra lost the truck but came close enough behind to witness the suspect’s wake of destruction on Kuakini Highway in the vicinity of Hualalai Road.

Ibarra said he “saw cars smashed” up and down the road. There is no street parking on that section of Kuakini Highway, meaning the suspect crashed into what Ibarra said were at least five vehicles that were in traffic and moving at the time of the collisions.

According to police, the suspect eventually ended up in Holualoa in the vicinity of Kalamauka Road, where he abandoned the stolen truck and the chase continued on foot. The suspect, a shotgun on his person, reportedly barricaded himself in an area home for roughly an hour before surrendering to police around 2 p.m.

Big Island Now will provide further details as they become available.

2:45 PM

Hawai‘i Police Department officers have taken a male suspect into custody following a chase through West Hawai‘i that ended in Holualoa.

What began as a vehicle pursuit on the afternoon of Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019, turned into a foot chase and area search after the suspect abandoned his vehicle in the vicinity of Kalamauka Road.

Police confirmed that the suspect surrendered of his own accord. Police had not made available details concerning the suspect or the origins of the chase public as of 2:45 p.m. Wednesday.

Big Island Now will provide updates to this story as they become available.

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