3-16-24 Hilo Man Arrested Following Hours Long Standoff with Police

Hawaiʻi Police Department
Area I Criminal Investigation Division
Captain Rio Amon-Wilkins
Phone: (808) 961-2251  
Report No.: 24-025356

Media Release

Hawaiʻi Island police have arrested 45-year-old Justin Makoto Pittullo, of Hilo, with terroristic threatening and violation of a court order following a nearly 9-hour standoff at a Hilo residence Friday evening, March 15, 2024.

Shortly after 10:30 p.m., South Hilo patrol officers responded to a residence in the 600 block of Ponahawai Street for a report of a man threatening a female tenant, which was in violation of an active temporary restraining order.

Responding officers determined the male suspect, later identified as Pittullo, had barricaded himself within the upstairs portion of the residence where he resides, and refused to exit to speak with officers. He also verbally threatened the officers and threatened to burn and blow up the house. 

Due to the threats made by Pittullo, and his refusal to exit the residence, officers evacuated the downstairs tenants, and secured a perimeter.

The department’s Special Response Team and Crisis Negotiators were activated, along with detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigation Section (CIS), who responded to the scene.

Crisis Negotiators continued to establish communication with Pittullo throughout the night in attempts to have him voluntarily surrender.

Area I CIS detectives obtained a search warrant to enter and search the residence. Shortly after 7:30 a.m. Saturday morning, March 16, Special Response Team officers arrested Pittullo, without incident.

There were no reported injuries to Pittullo, tenants of the residence, or police personnel.

A portion of Ponahawai Street was closed during this investigation; however, has since been reopened. Police thank the public for their patience and understanding.

Pittullo is being held in the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from Area I CIS continue the investigation.

Anyone who may have information regarding this incident is asked to call Detective David Poohina of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section, at (808) 961-2385 or email at david.poohina@hawaiicounty.gov.

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