East Hawaii News

35-year-old faces slew of charges stemming from 4-hour armed standoff in Aloha Estates

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Joseph Diego Soares

This story was updated at 10:01 a.m. Saturday, April 1.

A man arrested March 30 after a 4-hour armed standoff in the Aloha Estates Subdivision in Puna on the Big Island now faces an array of charges stemming from the incident.

The Hawai’i Police Department reports that after conferring with the Hawai’i County prosecutor’s office Friday, detectives with the department’s Area I Criminal Investigation Section charged 35-year-old Joseph Diego Soares with:

  • Two counts of first-degree reckless endangering.
  • Two counts of place to keep firearm.
  • Two counts of place to keep ammunition.
  • Two counts of carrying/possession of loaded firearm on highway.
  • Two counts of ownership/possession prohibited (firearm).
  • Three counts of ownership/possession prohibited (ammunition).
  • Two counts of third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug.

His bail was set at $269,000. Soares remains in custody at Hawai’i Community Correctional Center in Hilo and is scheduled to appear Monday, April 3, in Hilo District Court.


The incident that led to Soares’ arrest March 30 began after 1:30 p.m., when officers conducting a warrant sweep in Puna. They were in the Kopua Farm Lots area when they observed a vehicle known to be operated by Soares. According to police, officers had information that Soares had two outstanding warrants and was known to be armed and dangerous.

They also had just received information that Soares was suicidal.

As the group of officers attempted to contact Soares, he immediately fled the area. Officers continued to try to contact him and saw his vehicle drive towards the Eden Roc Subdivision, then into Fern Forrest, where it appeared to experience mechanical issues.

During this time, officers saw Soares reach his arm out of the vehicle and fire a pistol. The vehicle subsequently crossed Highway 11 and became fully disabled in the area of Highway 11 and Mauna Loa Road, at the bottom of the Aloha Estates Subdivision.


At that point, Soares exited the vehicle, placed a pistol up against his head, and began running up Mauna Loa Road. Officers ran after Soares in an attempt to ensure his safety and the safety of the residents in the area.   

The department’s Special Response Team with crisis negotiators responded to assist in apprehending Soares.

Officers chased Soares on foot up Mauna Loa Road for more than a mile to the area of Wainani Street, as he continued to disregard officers verbal commands and kept the pistol pressed against his head. Upon arrival of the Special Response Team, crisis negotiators talked with Soares in attempts to peacefully resolve the situation.

Shortly before 6 p.m., Soares was taken into custody, and the loaded pistol in his possession was safely recovered. He was arrested for his two outstanding Circuit Court warrants, reckless endangering, and various firearms offenses.   


Out of an abundance of caution, several residents in the Aloha Estates Subdivision were evacuated until police were able to render the area safe.

There were no reported injuries as a result of this incident.

Area I Criminal Investigation Section personnel responded to the scene to assist in continuing the investigation. Search warrants were drafted and executed on the vehicle Soares was operating, as well as a bag he was carrying, which resulted in the recovery of a loaded rifle, ammunition for the pistol and rifle, as well as a measurable amount of crystal methamphetamine and cocaine.

Anyone who might have information about this case is asked to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 808-935-3311 or contact Detective Paul Mangus at 808-961-2383 or via email at [email protected].

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