Pahoa market locked down after woman brandishes gun


Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald Customers exit Malama Market in Pahoa on Monday.

A 24-year-old Waimea woman was arrested Monday morning after an alleged robbery shortly after 9 a.m. at Malama Market in the Puna Kai Shopping Center in Pahoa.

According to Capt. Scott Amaral of Puna Patrol Division, Isabella Gonzales was taken into custody and booked on suspicion of first-degree robbery and first-degree terroristic threatening.


“She reportedly had been observed shoplifting from the business, and she assaulted a store employee,” Amaral said. “When she exited the business, she brandished a firearm, like a pistol, at store employees.”

Gonzales remains in custody while the investigation continues.

According to Amaral, a store employee suffered minor injuries.

Amaral said Malama Market went into a lockdown “to ensure the safety of their employees and customers.”

“The firearm was not discharged, even though on social media (people) are claiming it was,” Amaral said. “Although she did make threats toward store employees.”

Gonzales was outside the store when the pistol was allegedly brandished, Amaral said.

Amaral said responding officers located Gonzales “several hundred yards away from the business” and arrested her at 9:13 a.m.

Amaral declined to say whether a firearm was recovered, replying that the investigation was being assumed by the Hilo Criminal Investigations Section. He said police detectives were obtaining a search warrant for a bag in Gonzales’ possession when she was arrested.

Amaral praised the actions of Malama Market and its employees during the incident.

“The store did a great job of locking down the premises and assuring the safety of its customers and employees,” Amaral said.

Malama Market managers referred media inquiries to the corporate office of Foodland, the store’s parent company, which didn’t reply to a message in time for this story.

Anyone with information on this incident should call the department’s nonemergency number at (808) 935-3311, or Detective Clarence Davies of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at (808) 961-2382.

Those who prefer anonymity may call Crime Stoppers at (808) 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

Email John Burnett at

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