The Hawaii Police Department (HPD) is continuing with their search and manhunt for wanted suspect Walter Gomes III, who is wanted in connection with multiple incidents that occurred in North Kona and North Kohala districts of Hawaii Island on Wednesday night (March 20th) and Thursday (March 21st).
Their investigation and search for Gomes began on Wednesday night, with an assault that occurred in Kailua-Kona later leading to a female victim sustaining a single gunshot wound dropped off by private vehicle at the Kona Community Hospital at 7:07 pm that evening, where the victim was listed in serious condition and injuries sustained were determined not to be life-threatening. HPD officers responded to the hospital and immediately conducted a search of the hospital property and nearby properties on Wednesday night with negative findings. That’s when it was determined Gomes was last seen operating a 2003 White Cadillac Escalade with the license plate ZFC 915.
Later at 2:05 am Thursday morning, HPD officers found Gomes in the Cadillac SUV near the intersection of Maiau Street and Kamanu Street in the Kaloko Light Industrial area. As officers approached the vehicle and began giving verbal commands to Gomes to surrender and refused all attempts. Gomes then drove his vehicle towards officers, striking one of the police officer’s vehicle, and leading to 3 officers discharging their weapons. Gomes was able to flee the scene and all-out search by HPD began.
Thanks to numerous community tips coming from the North Kohala district, HPD officers immediately converged in North Kohala and later sighted Gomes at a local business in Hawi town. As HPD officers attempted to approach Gomes at the business in Hawi, he immediately jumped into the SUV and evaded officers and leading them onto a pursuit throughout Hawi town. Where then, Gomes broadsided an HPD officer’s subsidized vehicle near Old Camp 17 Road just south of Hawi Town, at that same location is where Gomes abandoned the Cadillac SUV and last seen on fleeing on foot into heavy brush near the scene. During several instances, several officers had discharged their weapons striking the Cadillac SUV at two locations in Hawi.
Akoni Pule Highway (Hwy 270) between Upolu Airport Road to Hawi Road (Hwy 250) was closed to all traffic for over 8 hours while HPD Detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigation Division (CID) conducted an investigation of the scene and had recovered the Cadillac SUV. They also began an all-out search of the surrounding area for Gomes, in which several residences in Hawi were evacuated as a precaution during the search. Hwy 270 had since been reopened as of 8:00 pm Thursday evening and those who evacuated were able to safely return to their residences.
The Hawaii Fire Department (HFD) Chopper 2 assisted HPD with conducting aerial searches of the area between Hawi town and Upolu Airport until nightfall on Thursday evening. Whereas of 7:45 am Friday morning, Gomes remains at large.
Officers are continuing to follow-up on leads as to his location. As is standard practice in any police-involved shooting, the Department’s Area II Criminal Investigation Section is conducting a criminal investigation into the shooting, while the Office of Professional Standards is conducting an administrative investigation.
The suspect, 41-year-old Walter Gomes III of Kona, was last seen wearing a blue hoodie-type top with camouflage cargo shorts. He is described as being 5-feet-11-inches, 182 pounds with brown eyes and buzzed brown hair, a light mustache, and unshaved face.
If you have any information on the whereabouts or sightings of Gomes, you are asked to call HPD’s Non-Emergency at (808) 935-3311. The public is also asked not to approach Gomes as he is considered armed and dangerous.