HILO — Two Puna patrol officers who fired a total of 13 shots at a suspect who allegedly tried to run them over in a stolen pickup truck were identified in court documents as Bryson Miyose and Paul Wright III.
According to documents, Miyose and Wright were looking for fugitives “believed to be active on upper Puna burglaries.”
The officers stopped at a property on Waimaka O Pele Road between Kopua Farm Lots and Fern Acres and reportedly saw a silver Toyota Tacoma pickup truck reported stolen on April 27 from the state building parking lot in Hilo.
The driver, identified in documents as 32-year-old Joseph Paul “JP” Branco of Puna, allegedly revved the engine of the truck and accelerated at a high rate of speed toward the officers who, according to police, fired shots at the vehicle, striking the truck’s hood and windshield. The truck stopped short of the officers, who arrested Branco, the subject of police wanted bulletins dated Jan. 24 and April 23, without further incident.
There were no injuries to the officers or Branco.
A search warrant was executed on the truck and detectives found a loaded .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol, a .30-30 lever action rifle, about 1.5 ounces of crystal methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia, police said.
Branco was charged with first-degree terroristic threatening, driving a stolen vehicle, resisting an order to stop, first-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, possession of drug paraphernalia and five firearms offenses. The two most serious offenses, first-degree promotion of a dangerous drug and possessing a firearm in the commission of a felony, are Class A felonies punishable by 20 years imprisonment.
During Branco’s initial court appearance Tuesday, defense attorney Melody Parker requested a bail reduction, which drew an objection from Deputy Prosecutor Sylvia Wan.
Hilo District Judge Harry Freitas maintained Branco’s bail at $191,000.
Branco is being detained at Hawaii Community Correctional Center.
Police say one officer fired nine shots, while the other discharged four rounds. Both were placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard practice when an officer discharges a weapon, pending the outcomes of two investigations. One is a criminal investigation conducted by the Hilo Criminal Investigations Section, and the other is an administrative investigation conducted by the Office of Professional Standards, the department’s internal affairs unit.
For Wright, it’s not the first time he fired at a suspect in a stolen truck.
On Aug. 20, 2015, he and Deputy Sheriff Dennis Branco shot at Jomal Ford, who sped toward them in a stolen red 1997 Nissan pickup as the officers attempted to serve an arrest warrant on Ford in Mountain View.
Ford, who was shot in the leg, was treated and released from Hilo Medical Center. Deputy Sheriff Gerard Moses, who was grazed by the truck, also was treated and released.
Ford was initially charged with multiple counts of attempted murder but later was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to first-degree attempted assault and driving a stolen vehicle.
Email John Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.