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Wounded Honaunau murder suspect is arrested as another victim recovers from gunshot wounds


Hawai’i Island police are continuing the investigation of a shooting incident on Painted Church Road in South Kona on Saturday afternoon, (June 23). Responding to a call just before 3 p.m., officers confirmed one person dead at the scene. He has since been positively identified as 42-year-old Thomas Ballesteros Jr., with no permanent address. An autopsy will be conducted this week to determine the exact cause of death.

It was also determined that two other males were injured, including the possible suspect, and had left the scene prior to officer’s arrival. Both males have since been located and identified and are currently being treated for non-life threatening gunshot injuries.

At 6:15 p.m., Sunday evening, (June 24), with the assistance of the Honolulu Police Department Criminal Investigation Division, Brian Lee Smith, 49-years-old, of Honaunau, was arrested for one count each of Murder II and attempted Murder II. He remains hospitalized and upon release will be returned to Hawai’i Island for his initial court appearance. Additional charges are pending.

Detectives with the Area II Criminal Investigation Section are continuing the investigation and ask anyone having any information on this case to call Lieutenant Rio Amon-Wilkins at (808) 326-4646 ext. 230.

Editor’s note: Originally the headline said the suspect fled to Oahu when in fact he was taken there for medical treatment before being arrested by Honolulu Police.

One Response to “Wounded Honaunau murder suspect is arrested as another victim recovers from gunshot wounds”

  1. Violet says:

    They haven’t been charged yet, just arrested.


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