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Man arrested in 7-Eleven robbery

A 33-year-old homeless Hilo man was arrested following an alleged armed robbery at the Kinoole Street 7-Eleven store during the weekend.

Jamal K.K. Hauoli-Ontai faces charges of first-degree robbery, first-degree assault on a police officer, resisting arrest and marijuana possession.

Hauoli-Ontai made his initial appearance Monday before Hilo District Judge Harry Freitas, who maintained his bail at $63,000. A preliminary hearing originally scheduled for Wednesday was continued until 2 p.m. Feb. 26 so Hauoli-Ontai and his attorney, Deputy Public Defender Michael Ebesugawa, can consider a plea offer made by Deputy Prosecutor Rick Damerville.

Hauoli-Ontai remains in custody at Hawaii Community Correctional Center.

Police say Hauoli-Ontai and another man entered the convenience store about 3 a.m. Saturday.

Court documents filed by police state the cashier on duty, 25-year-old Felixon Kansou, reported a man purchased drinks and paid for them with an Oregon EBT card. He also tried to purchase a box of Newport cigarettes, which Kansou requested $10.15 in cash for. When Kansou refused, the man reportedly told Kansou, “You like me shoot your head off?”

He then allegedly leaned toward the cashier’s counter and lifted his shirt, exposing a small black handgun in his waistband.

When another customer entered the store, the two men left, documents state.

Police reportedly viewed the store’s surveillance video and recognized Hauoli-Ontai, according to court documents, and Kansou identified him from a photographic lineup.

Police reportedly found Hauoli-Ontai about 5:40 p.m. at the Mooheau Bus Terminal in downtown Hilo. Court documents state when Officer Jared Cabatu attempted to arrest him, Hauoli-Ontai “rushed Officer Cabatu and began to engage in a physical fight.”

Cabatu reportedly received minor injuries, including abrasions to his left forearm and a scratch and redness to his chin and neck.

Hauoli-Ontai also reportedly resisted attempts by Cabatu and Officer Kayla Kahuli to handcuff him. Hauoli-Ontai reportedly sustained a cut to his right eye but refused medical attention.

Officers reportedly found two clear zip-lock packets containing small amounts of pot in Hauoli-Ontai’s right front pocket.

First-degree robbery is a Class A felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Assaulting a police officer is a Class C felony punishable by up to five years imprisonment. Marijuana possession and resisting arrest are misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in jail.

According to court records, Hauoli-Ontai was convicted in 2011 of assaulting a police officer and sentenced to five years probation and a year in jail with credit for time served. He was on felony probation when the alleged robbery occurred.

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