Hawaiʻi Police Department
Criminal Investigations Section, Area II
Lieutenant Gerald Wike
Phone: 326-4646, Ext. 266
Media Release (corrections in 6th paragraph)
A South Kona man is in police custody after setting himself on fire and attempting to do the same to his ex-girlfriend.
Police initially received a 1:21 a.m. report Tuesday (February 14) that a man was walking on Tobacco Road in Hōnaunau with a knife. En route, Kona patrol officers received updates that a house at that location was on fire.
Upon arrival, the officers determined that the suspect, 27-year-old Robert York of Hōnaunau, had reportedly gone to the home of his ex-girlfriend, poured a flammable liquid on the front porch and lit it on fire.
After the 26-year-old victim escaped from the house by climbing out a window, the suspect reportedly restrained her and poured the flammable liquid onto both her and himself.
The victim’s relatives, who live in another house on the same property, heard the commotion, exited their house and pulled the suspect away from the victim. As one of the relatives was fighting the flames on the porch with a garden hose, the suspect set himself on fire.
The relatives helped the suspect [corrected party] extinguish the flames. The suspect [corrected party] then fled from the property on foot.
A short time later, the suspect called 911 and was taken by ambulance to Kona Community Hospital for treatment of burns.
Police made contact with York at the hospital. When he was discharged from the hospital at 10:15 a.m. Wednesday, officers arrested him on suspicion of abuse, terroristic threatening and arson. He is being held at the Kona police cellblock while detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section continue the investigation.
The victim did not require medical attention for the injuries she received during the struggle with the suspect.