By JOHN BURNETT
Tribune-Herald staff writer
Police have launched a second-degree murder investigation after a 32-year-old Hilo man was found shot to death Saturday night along Bayfront Highway in downtown Hilo.
The victim was positively identified as 32-year-old Faafetai Fiu of Hilo.
“We’re still in the preliminary stages of the investigation right now,” Lt. Greg Esteban of the police Criminal Investigations Section said late Saturday night. “We’re trying to process the scene. We’ll be here all night.”
Police did not release a motive for the shooting, but said in a written statement that a suspect remained at large as of early Sunday morning. They did not name the suspect.
Officers responded to the scene at about 8:47 p.m. Saturday after receiving a number of calls about possible gunshots in the Mo‘oheau Park area.
Police closed the highway between Waianuenue Avenue and Pauahi Street while detectives and technicians worked to preserve evidence during intermittent rain showers. Also hampering the evidence collection efforts was the darkness, and officers used flashlights to illuminate the scene, since the short stretch of pavement has no streetlights.
The road was reopened at 11:20 a.m. Sunday.
At the scene at about 10:30 p.m. Saturday was a woman in a white minivan on the mauka side of the road who cried and shouted occasional obscenities.
“Are you kidding me?” the woman shouted through her tears. “Get out of here, you a———s!” It was not apparent to whom the woman was referring.
A baby or young child could also be heard crying from the minivan.
Yellow police barricade tape cordoned off a large portion of Mo‘oheau Park on the Puna side of the bandstand and bus terminal. The cyclone fence between the park and the highway also provided a natural barrier for police at the scene.
According to Tribune-Herald records, Fiu had been arrested and charged at least four times this year: in June for violating a protective order; on Aug. 16 for harassment; in early October for domestic abuse, DUI, driving after license suspended and for no child restraint in vehicle and later in October for assault.
On Sept. 20, Fiu was sentenced to five years probation and a year in jail for first-degree terroristic threatening and promoting a dangerous drug. In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors dropped domestic abuse and drug paraphernalia charges. Hilo Circuit Judge Glenn Hara allowed Fui to remain free provided he complied with the terms and conditions of his probation.
Fiu could have received a 10-year prison term on the terroristic threatening charge.
Fiu’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Melody Parker, noted in open court that Fiu was homeless at the time.
An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday morning to determine the exact cause of death.
Police ask that anyone with information or who may have witnessed this incident contact Detective Robert Almeida at 961-2386 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Detective Norbert Serrao at 961-2383 email@example.com. Those who prefer anonymity may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300.
Email John Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.