Manhunt suspect changes plea: Walter Gomes III to be sentenced in July

  • Walter Gomes III makes his initial appearance in April 2019 in Kona District Court. (LAURA RUMINSKI/West Hawaii Today)

A Kailua-Kona man charged in a March 2019 shooting incident that seriously injured one and triggered an 11-day manhunt recently changed his plea and faces up to five years behind bars when sentenced in July.

Walter Gomes III, 43, pleaded no contest to second-degree assault and two counts first-degree resisting an order to stop a motor vehicle on Friday before Kona Circuit Court Judge Robert D.S. Kim. Sentencing is set for July 6.

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Each offense is a Class C felony punishable by up to five years imprisonment and a fine up to $10,000.

Under the plea agreement, however, prosecutors will recommend Gomes serve the sentences concurrently, or at the same time. The sentence will also run concurrent to that to be imposed upon resentencing in May for a 2014 case.

He will also receive credit for time served since his arrest over a year ago. Gomes has been confined at Hawaii Community Correctional Center unable to post $193,250 bail.

Gomes had been indicted on 15 counts, including three Class B felonies and six Class C felonies in connection with the multiple-day and district incident that spanned from North Kohala to South Kona. Per the plea agreement, all but the three Class C felonies he pleaded no contest to will be dropped.

The charges stem from an incident that occurred on March 20, 2019, when a woman showed up at Kona Community Hospital with a gunshot wound to her face. Hawaii Police Department officers first encountered Gomes on March 21 in Kona by Costco. After refusing commands, police opened fire on the 41-year-old when he reportedly drove at police.

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After fleeing, officers encountered Gomes two more times in North Kohala with officers discharging weapons in both incidents, including near Old Camp 17 Road when he crashed into a police cruiser. After that, he disappeared into the North Kohala brush.

While there were reported sightings of the suspect, he wasn’t officially seen until days later on March 31 in Captain Cook, where he was taken into custody without incident.

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