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Police shoot at auto theft suspect who runs away through bushes

MEDIA RELEASE

Hawaiʻi Island police shot at a suspect during an officer-involved shooting that occurred Wednesday, (June 27), in Panaʻewa.

At about 11:35 p.m., police were investigating a suspected stolen vehicle in the area of East Mamaki Street when the Toyota Tacoma and another vehicle fled from them. In the process, the Tacoma drove toward one of the officers who jumped out of its path to avoid being struck. The Tacoma was later located on a dirt road off Stainback Highway after it went over an embankment.

The two officers began giving the driver, (and sole occupant), of the vehicle, verbal commands so they could take him into custody when he reached into the truck and appeared to have been pulling out a long dark colored object. One of the officers fired approximately 11 shots at the suspect who ran into the bushes and could not be found. Officers searched the area for the suspect but were unable to locate him. They also looked for any blood which may have indicated that the suspect had been shot, but didn’t find any traces.

Two occupants of the other vehicle involved, approached the officers a short time after the shots were fired and identified themselves as being within the other vehicle involved. That driver was taken into custody without further incident and his passenger left the area on foot. Arrested was 34-year-old Wailani Kenui, of Hilo, who was taken to the Hilo cellblock while detectives with the Criminal Investigation Section continue the investigation classified as a reckless endangering.

Investigators are looking for 41-year-old Shilo M. Brent, of Puna, to speak with him in relation to the investigation.

The officer who fired the shots has 10-years of police service. He has been placed on administrative leave as is standard practice in any officer-involved shooting, pending the outcome of an administrative investigation. The Police Department’s Area I Criminal Investigations Section will conduct an investigation into the shooting, and the Office of Professional Standards will conduct the administrative investigation.

Police ask anyone with any information about this incident to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311 or contact Detective Jesse Kerr at (808) 961-2379 or via email at jesse.kerr@hawaiicounty.gov

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