Woman charged for incident in which officers fired shots near KTA

  • TEARON PACHECO-FERNANDEZ

A 24-year-old Volcano woman whom police say was fired at by two officers last week was charged in connection with the incident, which occurred in a busy supermarket parking lot the day before Thanksgiving.

Police Lt. Rio Amon-Wilkins of the Hilo Criminal Investigations Section said early Wednesday evening that Tearon Pacheco-Fernandez is charged with two counts of first-degree criminal property damage plus first-degree terroristic threatening, resisting an order to stop and driving without a license.

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First-degree criminal property damage, the most serious charge, is a Class B felony that carries a potential 10-year prison term upon conviction.

Information from police earlier in the day cited an arrest warrant with attempted murder and other charges more serious than the ones finally lodged against Pacheco-Fernandez.

Bail is set at $32,000, Amon-Wilkins said.

The incident occurred Nov. 27 in the parking lot of the Puainako KTA Super Stores market in Hilo at the Puna end of the parking lot near the Jack in the Box restaurant.

Pacheco-Fernandez allegedly was behind the wheel of a stolen Toyota Tacoma pickup truck and managed to flee the parking lot. The truck sideswiped a Toyota sedan driven by a 71-year-old Hilo man.

The day prior to Thanksgiving is believed to be the biggest day of the year for grocers, often seeing an influx of last-minute shoppers buying ingredients for the holiday meal. Traffic is double or more the norm at many stores, with Safeway reporting increases in traffic of 78% in 2017 and 76% in 2018, beating every other day of the year.

Asked about the discharge of weapons by officers in the busy supermarket parking lot, Police Chief Paul Ferreira replied, “The administrative investigation into the shooting that occurred at KTA is still ongoing.”

“The officers, as policy dictates, have been placed on administrative leave. As with any officer-involved shooting, we do an internal investigation to determine whether policies were violated or procedures were followed,” Ferreira said. “In this situation, the officers that discharged their weapons, it was preliminarily reported that they felt their lives were threatened by the individual who operated that vehicle.

“In any officer-involved shooting, the way the process works is we also hold a special review board, which is comprised of the deputy chief and two assistant chiefs to look over the circumstances after the investigation is done. And then, they’ll recommend additional training, policy changes, or (a recommendation) to go to a review board for misconduct, or no action at all.”

One of the officers who fired his weapon is a 15-year veteran of the department and the other is a six-year veteran, police said.

No one was injured in the incident.

“In any situation it is very good news that nobody is hurt. Property can be fixed; cars can be fixed. But it is good that nobody was hurt,” Ferreira said.

Police previously said they wanted to question Pacheco-Fernandez regarding a Nov. 14 incident in which the truck allegedly rammed into a police vehicle on Kaumana Drive, then fled.

“The truck still hasn’t been found. At KTA, it had two separate license plates that didn’t belong to it,” Amon-Wilkins said.

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When arrested on the new charges, Pacheco-Fernandez was in custody at Hawaii Community in lieu of $50,000 on unrelated auto theft and burglary charges.

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

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