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Police Initiate Death Investigation in Downtown Hilo

by Thunda

Hawai‘i Island police have initiated a coroner’s inquest investigation following an assault and subsequent death of a 34-year-old man in downtown Hilo on Tuesday evening, January 16, 2024.

Shortly after 5:40 p.m., Hilo patrol officers and Hawai‘i Fire Department personnel responded to a report of an unresponsive male fronting the Mo‘oheau Bus Terminal in downtown Hilo. The man had reportedly been assaulted several minutes earlier.

Responding officers immediately began CPR on the man until medics arrived and took over and subsequently transported the victim via ambulance to the Hilo Medical Center Emergency Room. He was later pronounced dead at 6:28 p.m.

Area I Criminal Investigation Division personnel responded to the scene, as well as to Hilo Medical Center to continue this investigation.

Numerous witnesses were interviewed at the scene and reported that a short time earlier the victim was involved in an altercation with a 34-year-old female acquaintance near the homeless encampment along the fence line separating the Mo‘oheau parking lot and Bayfront Highway.

Following the altercation, the victim was reportedly involved in a physical fight with several men. Following the fight, the victim reportedly retrieved some of his belongings from a tent and rode away on his skateboard to the front of the bus terminal, where he sat on a bench. Shortly afterwards he was seen falling forward and hitting his head on the ground.

Police detectives are reviewing area video surveillance in hopes of identifying the men who were involved in the altercation with the victim.

An autopsy is scheduled for Friday morning, January 19, to determine the exact cause of death.         

The victim’s name is being withheld at this time pending positive identification and notification of next of kin.

Police ask anyone who may have witnessed this incident or has information relative to this case to call Detective Kimo Keliipaakaua of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at (808) 961-2375 or email or the police department’s non-emergency number at (808) 935-3311.

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