Puna Shooting Update 10-21-03

HAWAII COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT
EAST HAWAII CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION DIVISION
CAPTAIN SAMUEL THOMAS
PHONE: 961-2251
OCTOBER 21, 2003
H-67559

MEDIA RELEASE UPDATE

The Hawaii Police Department has received preliminary autopsy results relating to John C. McDonald M-62, who was killed at his Hawaiian Acres Subdivision residence on the Big Island on October 19, 2003. The results revealed he died from multiple gunshot wounds to his mid and upper body areas. His wife, Doraline McDonald, remains confined at the Queens Medical Center where she is presently being treated for injuries she sustained also as a result of the shooting.

Preliminary autopsy reports have also been received relating to Nat Kalae Eckman, M-33, who was being sought for the shooting and later found dead on Monday (October 20). The preliminary results indicate that he died as the result of an apparently self-inflicted gun shot wound to his head. Police did recover a Winchester rifle at the scene where Eckman’s body was found.

On Tuesday afternoon (October 21,) officers conducted a search of the vehicle that Eckman had been using and recovered a .22 caliber Ruger revolver, a rifle case, a marijuana pipe, .22 caliber live rounds, .30 caliber live rounds, spent shell casings, and opened packets containing crystal methamphetamine residue.

The Police Department also indicated that a three year-old granddaughter of the McDonalds and biological daughter of Eckman was present at the scene at the time the McDonalds were shot. The child was then taken by Eckman to a friend’s residence and the friend apparently unaware of the shooting incident then took the child to a blood relative of the child. The child was not physically injured and has been reunited with her biological mother.

Police have indicated that Eckman was being sought on Sunday (October 19), prior to the shooting incident after having received reports that he had violated a temporary restraining order by telephonically contacting an ex-girlfriend of his. The investigation determined that Eckman unexpectedly showed up at the McDonald residence on October 19. 2003, apparently to spend time with the three year-old and upon leaving the residence fired a handgun at the McDonalds. Eckman then left the residence with the child taking the child to a friend’s house.

Police responded to the scene of the shooting and tried to locate Eckman immediately by utilizing a task force of Patrol officers to check areas he was known to frequent as related by various sources. By 9:00 p.m., Sunday evening, a police negotiator was able to contact Eckman by cell phone and began repeated attempts to get him to reveal his whereabouts or surrender himself.

Police are continuing their investigation into determining the lawful owners of the firearms and note that Eckman was ineligible to possess any firearms due to previous felony convictions as well as the temporary restraining order on file against him.

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