3-16-24 (Update) Police Charge Hilo Man Following Barricaded Standoff

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 detectives have charged 45-year-old Justin Makoto Pittullo, following a nearly 9-hour standoff in Hilo late Friday night, March 15, 2024.

After conferring with Hawai’i County prosecutors, Pittullo was charged Saturday morning with the following offenses:

  • First-degree terroristic threatening
  • Harassment
  • Civil-TRO violation

His bail is set at $14,000.

The charges against Pittullo stem from an incident reported shortly after 10:30 p.m. on Friday night, when Hilo patrol officers responded to a Ponahawai Street residence 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 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, 2024, 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 remains in police custody in lieu of bail. He is scheduled to appear in Hilo District Court on Monday afternoon, March 18.

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.

This entry was posted in Media Releases. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.
  • Keep your community safe through Crime Stoppers

    Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.00. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers does not record calls or subscribe to any Caller ID service. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

    The Crime Stoppers TV Program is available on-demand from Nā Leo TV.