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Puna man charged with attempted murder in Stainback rampage


Hawaii Island police have charged a 38-year-old Puna man with 13 offenses in connection with an alleged kidnapping that led to a police pursuit and an alleged attempt to run down two officers.

At 10:50 a.m. Wednesday, Riley Asuncion of Pāhoa 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. He remains in the Hilo police cellblock pending his initial court appearance scheduled for Thursday.

Investigation by the Area I Criminal Investigations Section determined that Asuncion illegally entered the sports-utility vehicle of a 30-year-old female acquaintance Monday morning without her knowledge, police said. As the woman was driving on Kīlauea Avenue in Downtown Hilo, he surprised her from the back seat, assaulted her and gained control of the SUV, according to a police department press release. The woman was able to escape from the vehicle on Kinoole Street near Haihi Street.

Police responding to an 11:26 a.m. report of an apparent domestic incident in a pink SUV located the vehicle in the Panaewa area. The driver swerved in an apparent 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 the suspect 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 shortly before 7 p.m. while detectives continued the investigation.

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 of the force and the other has been an officer for approximately a year.