Suspect arrested after shooting, hostage situation on Hawaii island


A suspect was arrested Tuesday following a shooting and hostage situation in the Leilani Estates subdivision in Puna.

The incident began when officers responded to a shooting on Nohea Street.

Leilani Estates resident Rob Thommarson says the sound of gunshots woke him up at around 3:45 a.m.

“It sounded like about six single shots were fired, and it seemed like every once in a while after that, there was a shot fired,” he said.

Police say officers found a 25-year-old male victim who was shot several times. He was taken to Hilo Medical Center where he remains in stable condition.

Police identified the suspect as Jovin Chang, 33, of Leilani Estates.

He barricaded himself at a residence on Leilani Boulevard for hours with five female hostages, ages 9, 11, 14, 16, and 30.

Neighboring residents were asked to evacuate as the Hawaii Police Department’s special response team and crisis negotiators responded.

Police say the standoff ended just after 2 p.m. when Chang exited the home and shot himself in the face with a rifle.

Medics were already on scene and took him to Hilo Medical Center. The hostages were not hurt.

Police believe the suspect and the hostages knew each other, though their exact relationships are unknown at this time.

Area resident Malia Defay-Brown says this is a first for the neighborhood.

“Nobody’s life was lost, but it’s been a very stressful and difficult day,” she said. “We’ve heard occasionally over the years arguments, loud arguments from that location, but never gunshots before.”

Leilani Boulevard remained closed between Highway 130 and Hapuu Street until just after 7 p.m.

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