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Son allegedly attacks father; later found unresponsive in cell

  • Thomas Lional Woods

KAILUA-KONA — A 91-year-old man is recovering at a Waimea hospital after a possible murder-suicide attempt that led to the death of his son over the weekend in South Kohala.

Hawaii Police Maj. Robert Wagner said late Tuesday afternoon that the 91-year-old man was “doing better.” The victim, who has yet to be identified, had been moved from the intensive care unit to a regular room at North Hawaii Community Hospital as of press time.

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Police responded at 8:47 p.m. Saturday to a report of a possible murder-suicide incident at a home off Kanehoa Street, just off Kawaihae Road in Waimea. Police said the incident was reported by a third party on the mainland.

Upon arrival, officers determined that the suspect, later identified as Thomas Lional Woods, 63, had barricaded himself and his 91-year-old father within the residence. A check of Hawaii County Property Tax maps listed Woods as the owner of one of two structures at 62-2240 Kanehoa Street.

According to police, Woods was heard making verbal threats that he was going to kill his father. Officers were subsequently able to contact Woods and take him into custody without further incident. He was then transported to the South Kohala Police Station.

His father was located within a bedroom of the residence, bound and with life-threatening injuries, police said. Hawaii Fire Department rescue responded to the scene and transported the 91-year-old in critical condition to North Hawaii Community Hospital where he remained on Tuesday.

At 12:50 a.m. Sunday, while in police custody, police said Woods was found unresponsive within a temporary cell at the South Kohala Police Station. Police said personnel immediately began CPR and summoned Hawaii Fire Department personnel.

Medics transported Woods in critical condition to North Hawaii Community Hospital where he was pronounced dead later that night, police said Tuesday.

A woman who lives in the second unit on the same Kanehoa Street lot as Woods said she and her husband heard a lot of unintelligible screaming around 7:30 p.m. that Saturday. She also said they noticed a bunch of stuff being thrown out of the back of the home.

Later on that night, she said, they saw the place surrounded by police tape, but didn’t know at the time what had occurred within the home.

The home is located several hundred feet from the residence where the incident took place. She said that for the most part, the neighbors only interacted when mail went to the wrong unit.

It wasn’t the first time that police and medics were called to the home, she said. Two to three weeks ago, emergency personnel also responded to the home.

According to the woman’s husband, who also declined to be identified on the record, “old Mr. Woods” was out on the road apparently waving when he arrived home from work and pulled into the driveway in mid- to late-August. Thinking the man was simply waving, he went into his home, but about a half-hour later noticed an ambulance outside.

At the ambulance, the man said he overheard the 91-year-old telling medics something along the lines that he did not want to go home because he was being trapped in his home and being kept prisoner. Shortly thereafter, Thomas Woods came “ripping” down the road and told personnel, in his defense, that his father was going around and telling stories.

It is unclear what exactly transpired, however, the man was later taken by an ambulance, the man and woman said.

“Seems like there’s something to what old Mr. Woods was saying,” the man said Tuesday, noting that the Thomas Woods often became upset when the 91-year-old “escaped” the house.

Two other neighbors on Kanehoa Place said Tuesday afternoon they did not hear anything on Saturday night. While a reporter was talking with one of those neighbors, a different neighbor said he was on the phone with Woods’ wife, whom the neighbor relayed was with a friend and wanted to be left alone.

Lt. Rio S. Amon-Wilkins said Tuesday that police are continuing to investigate the incident, which is currently classified as an attempted second-degree murder case.

He had no additional information to provide.

A check of court records turned up cases for Woods dating back to 1997. Among the records were citations for moving and nonmoving traffic infractions and convictions for arrests for drunken driving in 2007 and disorderly conduct in 2006.

Police have also initiated a coroner’s inquest investigation in connection with Woods death.

An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

As is standard practice in any police involved death, the department’s Criminal Investigation Section will conduct an investigation into the death and the circumstances leading to it, and the Office of Professional Standards will conduct an administrative investigation.

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Email Max Dible at mdible@westhawaiitoday.com.

Email Chelsea Jensen at cjensen@westhawaiitoday.com.