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Hilo Man Charged with Attempted Murder Following Reported Weekend Shooting

March 14, 2022, 8:20 AM HST
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A Hilo man was accused of attempted murder following a reported shooting in Pepe‘ekeo over the weekend.

The incident occurred on Saturday, March 12. At about 6 a.m., Hawaiʻi Police Department’s South Hilo patrol responded to a report of a male who had been shot and was lying in the bushes on the side of Sugar Mill Road.

Dustin Kapena Bell

Police located the victim who reported that he had been shot several hours earlier by the boyfriend of a female acquaintance. The boyfriend was later identified as Dustin Kapena Bell.

The 31-year-old victim was transported via ambulance to the Hilo Medical Center where he later underwent surgery and remains hospitalized in stable condition.

During the course of this investigation, detectives determined that a stolen vehicle case initiated earlier in the morning by Bell was related to the shooting incident. Bell reported that his vehicle was stolen from his residence in Hilo; however, it was later determined that that was false.

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According to police, Bell’s girlfriend was found to be operating the vehicle and later had parked at the bottom of Sugar Mill Road. The 32-year-old located the vehicle and shot the victim who was seated in the passenger seat. The female then drove away from the scene and was involved in a single-vehicle crash which rendered the vehicle inoperable.

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“Fearing for his life, the male shooting victim exited the vehicle and fled the area into the bushes to hide from the suspect who was approaching the accident scene,” HPD stated in a press release Monday morning. “Bell then picked up his girlfriend from the accident scene and left the area. Upon returning home from the incidents on Sugar Mill Road, Bell called police dispatch to report the vehicle as stolen.”

After conferring with the County Prosecutors office, detectives charged Bell with second-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault, and false reporting to law enforcement authorities. He is being held in lieu of $276,000 bail pending his initial court appearance scheduled this afternoon in Hilo District Court.

Detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigation Section responded to the scene to continue the investigation. Search warrants were executed on Bell’s residence, as well as the truck he was operating and the vehicle his girlfriend was operating with the victim.

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Police are asking for anyone who may have been in the area of Sugar Mill Road on Saturday morning between 2:30 and 3 a.m., to contact the police department’s non-emergency number at 808-935-3311, or Detective John Balberde at 808-961-2386 or email him at [email protected].

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