Gunman fires at state highway workers 02-16-05

PHONE: 326-4646, EXT. 249
FEBRUARY 16, 2005


An unknown gunman fired shots at three state workers who caught him trying to steal a backhoe from a baseyard facility Wednesday (February 16, 2005).

Responding to a 9 a.m. report of shots being fired in the area of the 23-mile marker on Hawaii Belt Road in North Kona, Kona patrol officers determined that state highway workers were inspecting their baseyard when they observed suspicious activity inside. On entering the baseyard, they encountered a male suspect attempting to remove a backhoe from the gated facility.

The suspect fled on foot in the makai direction on an unimproved road, and the state workers gave chase. The state workers stopped the foot pursuit when the suspect reportedly brandished a handgun and fired multiple shots at them.

Responding Kona patrol officers and additional support units, including State Department of Land and Natural Resources DOCARE law enforcement officers, secured the area and conducted a search for the suspect.

As of 5 p.m., a ground and aerial search of the suspect was still under way.

As a result of the incident, Kona patrol officers have initiated three attempted murder investigations and one felony theft investigation and have forwarded the investigation to the West Hawaii Criminal Investigation Section.

The suspect is described as a local male, about 5-foot-10 in height, weighing 175 to 200 pounds and having a tan complexion and medium-length black hair. He was last seen wearing a black shirt and green shorts and carrying a black tote bag.

Police are asking anyone with information about the incident or the identity of the suspect to call the police non-emergency number at 935-3311.

Those who wish to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona. All Crime Stoppers information is kept strictly confidential.

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