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Attempted murder suspect died from a gunshot wound from officer


An autopsy was conducted Tuesday (December 13) on the body of a man who died following an officer-involved shooting Friday (December 9).

The medical examiner’s preliminary results indicated that 30-year-old Stephen Joshua Whitney of Hilo died from a gunshot wound to the torso. As part of the autopsy, the medical examiner will analyze additional samples and conduct a toxicology study.

The shooting occurred around 4 p.m. Friday on Highway 11 in Keaʻau while officers were searching for a stolen pickup truck connected to an attempted murder investigation. While conducting checks for the stolen truck, officers encountered it parked in the Hilo-bound lane of Highway 11 in the area of Shipman Industrial Park in Keaʻau. The stolen truck was parked facing the opposite direction of the flow of traffic.

When police approached the vehicle, the driver failed to comply with lawful police orders. The suspect drove forward, gunning his engine and heading toward another officer, when the suspect was shot.

Police administered CPR at the scene. The suspect was subsequently transported to Hilo Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

The officer who discharged his firearm had three years’ experience as a police officer.

As in standard practice in any police shooting, the Police Department’s Area I Criminal Investigations Section is conducting a criminal investigation into the shooting and the Office of Professional Standards is conducting an administrative investigation.

Police ask anyone who witnessed the incident to contact Detective Wendall Carter at 961-2383 or

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 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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