Police fire shots in Puainako incident

  • JOHN BURNETT/Hawaii Tribune-Herald Police investigators survey the scene of a police-involved shooting Wednesday afternoon near the Puainako Jack in the Box in Hilo. The yellow markers on the parking lot pavement indicate where bullet casings or fragments were found.
  • TEARON PACHECO-FERNANDEZ

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story erroneously stated the driver left the parking lot toward Kinoole Street instead of Kilauea Avenue.

Police fired shots at a truck police think was driven by a suspect wanted on warrants at about noon today in the parking lot of the Puainako KTA store near the Jack in the Box restaurant.

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Lt. Rio Amon-Wilkins of Hilo Criminal Investigations Section said patrol officers got a call about a truck they previously said was involved in a Nov. 14 incident on Kaumana Drive in which an officer’s vehicle was intentionally rammed. He said the officers responded to a report the truck was in Keaukaha but they didn’t find it there.

“An off-duty officer … came to this area and observed the truck and let the on-duty officers know,” Amon-Wilkins said. “They responded to this area, were able to identify the vehicle as the one that they were looking for previously.

“And then, that’s when things just started happening real quickly.”

A witness who identified himself only as “K.J.” said he heard gunfire. He said the driver of the truck swiped his small white sedan while making a getaway from the parking lot toward Kilauea Avenue. He said he didn’t know in what direction the truck fled.

“I’m not sure exactly how many officers fired. More than one officer fired. That part’s still under investigation,” Amon-Wilkins said. He added he didn’t know if the truck or its driver were hit.

It appears nobody in the busy parking lot was injured in the incident.

Asked if the driver of the truck is Tearon Pacheco-Fernandez, a 24-year-old woman wanted in the Kaumana Drive incident, Amon-Wilkins replied, “Can’t say that 100 percent.”

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See Thursday’s edition of the Tribune-Herald for an updated version of this story.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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