Police ID man who died while in custody

Police have identified a man who died in custody on Saturday after an alleged crime spree in South Kona as 29-year-old Charren Ornellas, whose last known address was in Hilo.

A cause of death wasn’t provided, as police are awaiting toxicology and histology results of an autopsy conducted on Wednesday.


The chain of events started with Ka‘u patrol officers dispatched about 11:20 a.m. to a report of a reckless driver operating a maroon-colored Scion. Officers made checks for the vehicle, but were unable to locate it.

At 11:57 a.m., a traffic crash was reported on Highway 11 in South Kona with the responsible vehicle being described as a maroon-colored Scion, police said. The driver fled the scene northbound on Highway 11.

At 12:05 p.m., a witness reported a maroon-colored Scion on the northbound shoulder of Highway 11 and saw the man who was driving the vehicle walk onto a property in the area. Shortly thereafter, dispatch received another call of reporting a man was attempting to break in to a vehicle on the same property. When the homeowners confronted the man, he reportedly began causing damage to the residence.

A relative of the residents, who lives in the area, arrived on scene to assist the homeowners, police said. Upon his arrival, a confrontation ensued in which a firearm was discharged.

Police said no injuries were reported, and did not clarify whom discharged the weapon. The confrontation then escalated into an assault where the man who had come onto the property was reported to be the aggressor.

Passers-by observed the relative being assaulted and stopped to assist, restraining the aggressor as police responded to the scene, police said.

​​At 12:27 p.m., officers arrived on scene and after observing injuries suffered by both men requested medical attention.

The man reported to be the aggressor was then taken into police custody from the bystanders, police said.


According to police, Ornellas was unresponsive at the scene. Officers performed CPR until Hawaii Fire Department personnel arrived. Fire personnel were unable to revive man and he was taken to Kona Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 6:21 p.m.

The relative who had arrived to assist was also taken to Kona Community Hospital where he was treated and transferred to The Queen’s Medical Center on Oahu, initially in critical condition. He’s since been updated to stable condition.