Friday | November 17, 2017
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HCCC escapees remain on the loose

Two Hawaii Community Correctional Center inmates remained on the loose Wednesday night after a violent escape that left an officer seriously injured and the facility on lockdown, Department of Public Safety Interim Director Ted Sakai said.

The men, Ryan Jeffries-Hamar, 31, and Jarvis Naoki Higa, 35, reportedly escaped the facility’s law library shortly before 10 a.m., Sakai said. The men are considered dangerous; the public should not approach them. Anyone who sees them is asked to call 911 immediately.

They were last seen in the vicinity of Alahelenui Street and Kaumana Drive in Hilo, according to the Hawaii Police Department. They were wearing no shoes, gray sweatpants and white T-shirts.

Police said Jeffries-Hamar has ties to Kona and at least one of the men may try to travel to the area. Hawaii Police Kona Patrol Capt. Richard Sherlock said a special enforcement unit has been established as a “pre-emptive” measure to apprehend the men should they show up in West Hawaii.

Jeffries-Hamar, also known as Ryan James Hamar and Ryan James Jeffries, is described as Caucasian, 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighing 165 pounds with blond hair and blue eyes.

Jeffries-Hamar is one of more than a dozen Big Islanders identified by police as part of a South Kona crime spree earlier this year. He was in custody following a Sept. 8 arrest that netted him an escape charge after he allegedly failed to check in with a work furlough release program.

Higa is described as Japanese, 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighing 160 pounds with brown eyes and black hair. He has tattoos on his arms and chest. Higa is facing attempted murder charges in connection with a July shooting incident in Hilo, according to police.

Sakai said the men overpowered and “beat up” the corrections officer before they threatened and took a female librarian’s car keys. They then kicked a security gate, compromising it enough that they were able to slip out. The gates were locked at the time of the incident. No others were in the library.

The building is separate of the main HCCC facility, but within the security fence perimeter, he said. The men were able to climb the fence, enter a parking lot and locate the librarian’s vehicle. They then left. The vehicle was later found abandoned.

The facility was immediately placed on lockdown and remained in that status as of noon Wednesday. No others left the facility.

Sakai said a thorough investigation will be conducted, as well as a review of security procedures.

The corrections officer was taken to Hilo Medical Center in serious condition, Sakai said, noting the man did not have life-threatening injuries. The librarian was not injured. Both will receive counseling and appropriate care.

A check of Higa’s criminal history on the Department of the Attorney General’s Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center shows he has been charged 20 times.