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Police fire on suspect following chase in Hilo

Updated: 
July 22, 2014 - 5:34am

Police say a reported domestic incident resulted in a nonfatal officer-involved shooting at about noon Monday.

Shortly before 11:30 a.m., Hilo Patrol officers responded to a report of a domestic incident in a pink sport utility vehicle in the Panaewa area.

According to a written police statement, the officers located the SUV, but the driver of the vehicle led them on a chase. Officers pursued the SUV, following it to Stainback Highway, where it allegedly turned around on a side road and drove recklessly toward two officers.

In response, three shots were fired toward the SUV, which continued down Stainback Highway. It then stopped a short distance later and the suspect fled into the bushes, according to the statement.

Police determined that no one else was in the vehicle at that time.

The suspect was located a short time later. He was identified as 38-year-old Riley Asuncion of Pahoa, arrested on suspicion of terroristic threatening and taken to Hilo Medical Center, where he remained in stable condition Monday evening with a nonlethal torso injury.

Police said the 30-year-old female victim of the reported domestic incident had exited the SUV before officers began pursuit.

The woman was later found in Hilo, police said.

Maj. Sam Thomas of the Hawaii Police Department’s Administrative Services Division declined to say how many officers discharged firearms or if a weapon other than those of the officer or officers was recovered from the scene, saying those details are “under investigation.”

Stainback Highway, which leads from Volcano Highway to Kulani Correctional Facility, was closed to traffic for several hours from just above the county’s Panaewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens to the intersection of North Kulani Road while police investigated.

According to court records, Asuncion has 21 criminal convictions, including one felony conviction, for burglary, in 2007. He was sentenced to five years probation and a year in jail, with six months suspended. He has three convictions for misdemeanor assault and two for DUI, as well as convictions for domestic abuse, terroristic threatening, interfering with a report of an emergency, reckless driving and resisting an order to stop.

Police said the Hilo Criminal Investigations Section is conducting a criminal investigation into the shooting and the Office of Professional Standards — the department’s internal affairs unit — is conducting an administrative investigation, standard procedure in any police-involved shooting.