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Police Arrest Suspect in Honoka’a Attempted Murder Investigation

by Thunda

Hawai’i Island police have initiated an attempted murder investigation following a shooting incident in Honoka‘a on Tuesday evening, May 16, 2023, that left a 39-year-old man in critical condition.

On Tuesday evening, shortly after 6:00 p.m., Hāmākua patrol officers responded to a reported shooting on Rickard Place, off Māmane Street in Honoka‘a. Responding officers located the victim, who was conscious and being tended to by a bystander. He appeared to have injuries to his neck and top of his head. He was immediately transported via ambulance to the North Hawai’i Community Hospital in Waimea, and later flown to the Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu, for further treatment.   

A witness at the scene reported that he and the victim were hanging out in the area on Rickard Place, when 29-year-old Keola Jedidiah Whitehead-Shibata, of Honoka‘a, showed up. A short time later, Whitehead-Shibata got upset with the victim, pulled out a handgun, and shot at him multiple times prior to fleeing the area on foot, still in possession of the gun.

Area I Criminal Investigation Section detectives responded to the scene to continue this investigation, which is classified as second-degree attempted murder.

After canvassing the area, police located and arrested Whitehead-Shibata without incident at 8:22 a.m., Wednesday, May 17, in a wooded area off Lehua Street in Honoka‘a.

Police are asking anyone who may have witnessed this incident to contact the police department’s non-emergency number at (808) 935-3311, or Detective Scotty Aloy at (808) 961-2381 or email him at

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