By JOHN BURNETT
Tribune-Herald staff writer
A police detective testified Friday that the victim of a Mother’s Day shooting in Panaewa suffered life-threatening injuries.
Detective Wendall Carter said in Hilo District Court that Dr. Daniel Hudak, who performed emergency surgery on 55-year-old June Shirshac at Hilo Medical Center, ordered Shirshac medevaced early the next morning to The Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu, where she is still hospitalized.
“He (Hudak) informed me that the injuries were life-threatening,” Carter said. “He informed me that she had sustained a total of four gunshot wounds; one was a through-and-through wound to her left shoulder. The second one was to her left knee. There was another to her right thigh and her right hand.”
Carter took the witness stand during a preliminary hearing for 72-year-old Joseph Amormino Sr., a retired adult corrections officer for Hawaii Community Correctional Center and the former boyfriend of Shirshac, a greeter at the Hilo Walmart store. Amormino was arrested after the early evening shooting on Sunday, May 13, at 1197 Auwae Road, where Shirshac lived in the same house with ex-husband Francis Makaiwi. Amormino is charged with first-degree attempted murder, two counts of second-degree attempted murder, burglary, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, three other firearms offenses and three counts of terroristic threatening.
Hudak had been subpoenaed to testify on Friday, but told Carter he was unavailable because he was on call for possible surgery and was leaving town later in the day.
Under questioning by Deputy Prosecutor Dakota Frenz, Carter said Hudak had told him that Shirshac’s shoulder wound was “close to her heart.”
“Did he indicate whether there were any bleeding concerns regarding that injury?” Frenz asked.
“He said they were having difficulty stopping that bleeding,” Carter replied.
“Did he say if that was part, if not all, of his rationale for having her medevaced?”
Jennifer Minaai, an evidence specialist for the police, testified that a silver Ruger .357-caliber revolver and a black Smith & Wesson .38-caliber revolver were found on a kitchen counter, as were three speed loaders with six rounds of ammunition, each. She also said that six spent .357-caliber bullet casings and six spent .38-caliber casings were taken into evidence. One of the .357 casings was still in a chamber in the revolver’s cylinder, Minaai said.
Five of the spent .357 casings were found in a hallway and five metal fragments were found in the master bedroom, Minaai said. She said there were bullet holes in the door. Makaiwi testified on May 18 that he had locked himself inside the bedroom after Amormino arrived at the home carrying a handgun.
Neighbors told the Tribune-Herald the evening of the shooting that they had heard 11 shots. One neighbor said earlier this week that each shot was about 90 seconds apart.
Detective Robert Almeida testified that “five or six firearms” are registered to Amormino, including the Smith & Wesson .38. Asked about the Ruger .357, Almeida replied: “We have no record of that firearm.”
Carter testified that no firearms were registered to either Shirshac or Makaiwi.
Prosecutors are attempting to establish that there is probable cause to try Amormino on the charges, while Amormino’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Michael Ebesugawa, is attempting to establish that there are no grounds for attempted murder charges because Amormino did not intend to kill Shirshac or Makaiwi, who was uninjured.
A Honolulu police sergeant who interviewed Shirshac at Queen’s testified on May 18 that according to Shirshac, Amormino had told her she wasn’t going to die, but that she wouldn’t walk again. The shooting occurred two days after Shirshac had cut off the relationship with Amormino, Sgt. Nancy De Foster said.
The prosecution has rested its case. Ebesugawa told Judge Harry Freitas that he intends to subpoena Hudak to testify when the hearing continues, Wednesday, June 13 at 2 p.m. He said Hudak would be the only defense witness.
Amormino remains in custody at HCCC, where he once worked, in lieu of $656,000 bail.
Email John Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.