3-30-23 Man Arrested Following Armed Standoff in Puna

Hawai’i Police Department
Criminal Investigation Division – Area I
Captain Rio Amon-Wilkins
Phone: (808) 961-2251
Report No.: 23-031470

Media Release

Hawai’i Island police arrested 35-year-old Joseph Diego Soares, following an hours-long armed standoff in the Aloha Estates Subdivision in Puna, on Thursday, March 30, 2023.

On Thursday afternoon shortly after 1:30 p.m., officers conducting a warrant sweep in the Puna district, were in the Kopua Farm Lots area when they observed a vehicle known to be operated by Soares. Officers had information that Soares had two outstanding warrants, was known to be armed and dangerous, and had just received information that he was experiencing suicidal ideations. As the group of officers attempted to initiate contact with Soares, he immediately fled the area. Officers continued attempting to contact him and were able to maintain visual of his vehicle as it drove towards the Eden Roc Subdivision, then into Fern Forrest, when the vehicle appeared to begin experiencing mechanical issues. During this time, officers also observed Soares reach his arm out of the vehicle and fire a pistol. The vehicle subsequently crossed Highway 11 and became fully disabled in the area of Highway 11 and Mauna Loa Road, at the bottom of the Aloha Estates Subdivision. At that point Soares exited the vehicle, placed a pistol up against his head, and began running up Mauna Loa Road. Officers pursued Soares on foot in attempts to ensure his safety, as well as the safety of the residents in the area.   

Due to the nature of the rapidly evolving series of events, the department’s Special Response Team and Crisis Negotiators responded to assist in apprehending Soares.

Officers continued pursuing Soares on foot, up Mauna Loa Road for over a mile to the area of Wainani Street, as he continued to disregard officers verbal commands and kept the pistol pressed against his head. Upon arrival of the Special Response Crisis Negotiation Team, negotiators verbally engaged with Soares in attempts to peacefully resolve the situation.

Shortly before 6:00 p.m., Soares was taken into custody, and the loaded pistol in his possession was safely recovered. He was arrested for his two outstanding Circuit Court warrants, reckless endangering, and various firearms offenses.   

Out of an abundance of caution, several residents in the Aloha Estates Subdivision were evacuated until police were able to render the area safe.

There were no reported injuries as a result of this incident.

Area I Criminal Investigation Section personnel responded to the scene and are continuing this investigation. Search warrants are being drafted for the vehicle Soares was operating, as well as a bag on his person.

Police ask anyone who may have information relative too this case to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311 or Detective Paul Mangus at (808) 961-2383 or paul.mangus@hawaiicounty.gov.

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