Monday | September 26, 2016
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Police investigating Puna shooting; victim arrested

Police are seeking a suspect in a reported non-fatal shooting that occurred Saturday morning in Puna.

Detectives are looking for a local man known as “Dennis,” who is described as between 40-50 years old, with short salt-and-pepper hair and a mustache. He was last seen wearing jeans shorts.

Police Capt. Robert Wagner of the Hilo Criminal Investigation Division said Monday detectives don’t know the man’s identity.

“We have reason to believe he may reside in that particular area, though, but we don’t know who Dennis is,” he said.

Police received a call at about 11:07 a.m. Saturday of an in-progress threat incident in the Eden Roc subdivision in Mountain View involving a man brandishing a machete.

Responding officers arriving on 6th Street discovered the victim, a 30-year-old man with apparent gunshot wounds, after the man stopped his tow truck to inform police what happened.

“He was shot … in the upper extremities,” Wagner said. “… It happened on the side of the road (or) on the road.”

The victim, Hillery Melvin Witt IV was taken Hilo Medical Center where he was treated for his injuries and released.

Wagner said Witt was “familiar with the suspect.”

Asked about a possible motive, Wagner replied, “There’s some indication that we’re following up on but we’re not releasing that at this time.”

Wagner said the machete incident was “just a report.”

“It appears to be related but we’re still investigating it at this time.”

Upon his release from the hospital, Witt was arrested and charged on two unrelated contempt of court warrants. He was taken to the police cellblock to await his initial court appearance, scheduled for Monday.

Detectives are investigating the incident as attempted second-degree murder.

Any potential witnesses or others with information about the incident is asked to contact Detective Dean Uyetake at 961-2379 or or Detective John Rodrigues Jr. at 961-8222 or

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

Email John Burnett at


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