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Hilo man arrested following police shooting

Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7 Editor

Two police officers are recovering from gunshot wounds, while the man who shot them remains in critical condition and facing two counts of attempted first-degree murder.

Police arrested Keaka Daniel Martin, 31, of Hilo, in connection with the shooting Wednesday evening that injured the two officers, said Police Chief Harry Kubojiri at a press conference Thursday evening.

Keaka Daniel Martin

Keaka Daniel Martin

Both officers – who have not been identified, which is standard police practice concerning victims – underwent surgery early Thursday and are doing well, Kubojiri said. One officer reportedly was walking by Thursday evening, while the second officer had a second surgery at Hilo Medical Center.

Meanwhile, shortly before 3:30 p.m. Thursday, a team of 20 law enforcement officers attempted to contact Martin at a relative’s home on East Palai Street in Hilo, he said. In addition to Hawaii Police Department officers, the team included two Sheriff’s deputies and three FBI agents.

When the officers arrived at the residence and announced themselves, they heard a single gunshot from inside the house. They entered the residence and found Martin lying on the floor with a gunshot wound to his chest. A hand gun was nearby, Kubojiri said.

Martin was arrested on suspicion of two counts of attempted first-degree murder and taken to Hilo Medical Center under police custody. Following surgery, Martin remained in critical condition.

Detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section are continuing the investigation and anticipate further charges stemming from the shootings.

On Wednesday evening (Jan. 2) at 7:44 p.m., police responded to a report of several gunshots heard in the area of Kilauea Avenue near the Wailoa River in Hilo.

At approximately 8:52 p.m., while checking parked vehicles in the area of the 800 block of Kilauea Avenue, officers observed a man hiding under a parked vehicle. Upon approaching him, both officers were fired upon and sustained gunshot injuries. One of the officers was able to return fire.

The suspect was able to flee the area on foot, although the investigation led police to identify the suspect as Martin and to discover he was at a relative’s house in South Hilo. Once the relative found Martin was in his home, he called the authorities.

Kubojiri said police have yet to determine what led Martin to fire the initial shots, although no other injuries have been reported.

Police also said they are familiar with Martin, who has a criminal history dating to 2001.

At this time, police said they have no indication Martin was involved in the shooting death of Faafetai Fiu on Dec. 29 along Hilo Bayfront.

Police ask that anyone who has any information about the Wednesday night incident call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or Detective Grant Todd at 961-2385. Persons may also email Todd at gtodd@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 or 329-8181 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

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