Teen held in death, burning of Puna man
HILO » Big Island police charged a 17-year-old boy with murder and other crimes yesterday in connection with the apparent shooting death of a Puna District man south of Hilo early Sunday morning.
A motive for the shooting was still under investigation, Lt. Randall Medeiros said.
The suspect's name was not released because he is a juvenile. Besides second-degree murder, he is charged with use of a firearm in a felony, second-degree arson and auto theft.
Although police think they know who the victim was, his identity was not immediately confirmed because he was burned beyond recognition when the suspect allegedly set the victim's car on fire, they said.
Because of the state of the body, police could not confirm that a firearm was used, but at least one witness told police that a gun had been used, Medeiros said. He declined to give details.
Police also recovered a large-caliber firearm, Medeiros said. Testing is being done to see if it was used in the shooting, he said.
An autopsy was to be performed today, and the victim's identity will be established through dental records and DNA testing, he said.
The burned car was discovered at about 4 a.m. Sunday near Wooer, a shoreline area reached from Hawaiian Beaches subdivision by an unpaved, often badly rutted road.
But events apparently started in a remote area of Nanawale subdivision, several miles away, when one to three gunshots were heard, Medeiros said. Police were looking for the suspect when a tip from a member of his family led them to him at about 6 a.m., he said.
The case is under the jurisdiction of the Family Court.
The suspect was turned over to sheriffs. Since there is no facility for holding juveniles on the Big Island, the normal procedure is to transport them to Honolulu pending court appearances, Medeiros said.
Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Richard Sherlock at 961-2379 or CrimeStoppers at 961-8300.