Puna man charged with 13 offenses after officer-involved shooting

Riley Asuncion

A 38-year-old Puna man has been charged with 13 offenses in connection with a kidnapping that led to a police pursuit and an attempt to run down two officers.

Riley Asuncion of Pahoa was charged with three counts of attempted first-degree murder, two counts of third-degree assault, and one count each of kidnapping, terroristic threatening, unauthorized entry of a motor vehicle, unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, fourth-degree theft, driving without a license, reckless driving and resisting an order to stop.

His bail was set at $1,521,000.

A police investigation determined that Asuncion illegally entered the sports-utility vehicle of a 30-year-old female acquaintance Monday morning without her knowledge. As the woman was driving on Kilauea Avenue in downtown Hilo, he allegedly surprised her from the backseat, assaulted her and gained control of the SUV.

The woman was able to escape from the vehicle on Kinoole Avenue near Haihi Street.

Responding officers located the vehicle in the Panaewa area. According to police, Asuncion swerved in an attempt to ram a police vehicle and then fled to Stainback Highway, turned around on a side road and drove toward two officers, who had exited their police vehicles.

In response, three shots were fired toward the SUV, which then continued down Stainback Highway. It stopped a short distance later and Asuncion fled into the bushes.

Asuncion surrendered and was taken to Hilo Medical Center for treatment. Detectives determined that he was struck by one of the rounds, which caused a superficial wound to his torso.

Asuncion was released from the hospital early Monday evening and taken to the Hilo police cellblock, where he remains pending his initial court appearance scheduled for Thursday, July 24.

As is standard practice in any police involved shooting, the Police Department’s Area I Criminal Investigations Section is conducting a criminal investigation into the shooting and the Office of Professional Standards is conducting an administrative investigation.

The two officers involved are on desk duty during the investigation. One is a six-year veteran police officer and the other has been an officer for approximately a year.

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