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Tourists’ Vehicle Struck By Possible Bullet on Drive to Hanalei

By Max Dible
April 20, 2021, 4:58 PM HST
* Updated April 22, 3:22 PM
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Cinda and David Pittman were headed to Hanalei by way of Highway 56, approximately 15 minutes outside of Princeville, after a long day of travel when they heard the thud of some heavy projectile slam into the rear passenger side door of their rental car.

David first checked his mirrors, trying to discern through the heavy dark whether he’d just collided with an animal of some kind. Nothing to see, the couple thought perhaps it had been a large rock that struck their vehicle. But the car ran fine, and so they continued on to their destination.

They arrived at what would be their vacation home for the following two weeks and turned in. The next morning when they examined the vehicle, they found a frightening, almost unthinkable surprise. It hadn’t been a rock or an animal, but what appeared possibly to be a bullet that had torn through the night sky and slammed into their car door — just a few feet behind where Cinda had been seated.

A bullet tore through the night sky and struck a rental vehicle driven by David and Cinda Pittman, a couple from Chicago visiting Kauai.

“We called the police. An officer came out and took a report,” Cinda said. “He said it was probably a high caliber rifle and that the shot must have been fired from quite a (distance) because the bullet did not pierce all the way through and end up in the backseat of the car. But it could have.”

“If it had hit the passenger side window, I’m sure it would have gone through the glass,” she continued. “And then my head.”

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There was no bullet lodged in the vehicle upon inspection by either the Pittmans or the investigating officer from the Kaua´i Police Department, possibly having come loose somewhere along the drive.

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KPD verified an incident report had been filed, though provided minimal details as the investigation remains ongoing.

“We can confirm that David Pittman made a criminal property damage report regarding his vehicle on April 18, 2021,” Coco Zickos, KPD public information officer, wrote in an email to Big Island Now. “The incident is still under investigation and, at this time, we are unable to provide any further information.”

No definitive answer as to what precisely occurred just before 8:30 pm on that Saturday evening has left three days for Cinda and David to roll the incident over in their minds, questioning whether a bullet struck their vehicle and if so, if it happened by accident, or if whoever might have pulled the trigger first took aim and then fired.

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“(The officer) said there are a lot of pigs there and it was probably somebody that was hunting,” Cinda said. “I asked if they were supposed to do that. He said, ‘Not at night.'”

Cinda added that neither she or her husband have suffered any emotional trauma in the aftermath of the event. Had it happened in Chicago, the city from which the couple is visiting, she might have expected a gunshot was fired with specific intent. When she first spoke to reporters at Big Island Now, she did not believe the possible assault was intentional.

“I’m assuming no one tried to shoot us, but maybe someone did,” Cinda said Monday. “You kind of laugh about it, but then you think about it and this could have been really serious.”

By Tuesday, following more rumination and discussion with her husband, Cinda’s suspicions had grown.

“My husband has been doing some research on gun shots and the odd thing is that this is straight on the car, like it was shot at perfect 90 degree angle,” Cinda said. “Also, because it was so dark and no other cars (were) around, any hunter would have had to see our lights.”

“It just seems like someone actually shot at the car on purpose,” she continued. “I know that is hard to believe, and I have no idea why anyone would do that. The whole thing is just odd.”

Zickos said KPD would have more information to share on the incident by the end of the week.

Max Dible
Max Dible is the News Director for both Big Island Now and Kauai Now. He also serves as News Director for Pacific Media Group's Hawai‘i Island family of radio stations.
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