HILO, Hawaii – Police are investigating a fatal, officer-involved shooting that occurred overnight at the Puainako Town Center McDonald’s.
Twenty minutes after midnight on Friday, police say they “were investigating a possible sighting of a sought-after fugitive who was known to be armed and dangerous. Upon conducting checks of the area, officers located the suspect driving a vehicle within the drive-thru of a fast food restaurant. Officers commanded the suspect to exit the vehicle, but he instead drove over barriers within the drive-thru and accelerated his vehicle and drove directly at an officer and subsequently rammed into two police vehicles.”
“During this event,” police stated in a media release, “officers discharged their firearms at the vehicle accelerating towards the officer, which resulted in fatally injuring the driver; a front seat female passenger was also injured during this incident. The passenger was taken to Hilo Medical Center for treatment of injuries, and presently is in critical condition. No one else was injured in this incident.”
UPDATE (4:30 p.m.) – The male suspect shot dead by police has been identified as 38-year-old Ronald Barawis of Kailua-Kona. Police say they “observed a shotgun, assault type rifle, and two semi-automatic handguns within Barawis’ reach within the vehicle he was operating. There is also what appears to be a bulletproof type vest on the backrest of the driver’s seat.”
The injured female passenger is a 28-year-old from Mountain View on the Big Island. Police say since she has not been arrested, her identity is not being released.
Police say Barawis was being sought “on two outstanding warrants for parole violation and contempt of court as well as for resisting an order to stop a motor vehicle, reckless driving, and reckless endangering. The latter three incidents occurring on January 20, 2016, in Kailua-Kona where he charged forward with his vehicle nearly striking a Police Officer. He was also being sought for questioning for involvement in an attempted murder incident that occurred on December 29, 2015, in the upper Kaumana area in Hilo.” On December 29 police said gunfire damaged a truck and hit a home in Kaumana’s Gentry Homes subdivision and said the suspects managed to escape responding police on the Puainako Avenue extension.
This morning, police tape surrounded the McDonald’s Restaurant and investigators were documenting debris on the ground near the fast food drive-through.
The officers who fired their weapons have 20, 15, and 6 years of experience with the Hawaiʻi Police Department, officials say. As is standard practice in any police involved shooting, the Police Department’s Area I Criminal Investigations Section will conduct a criminal investigation into the shooting and the Office of Professional Standards will conduct an administrative investigation.
Police ask anyone who witnessed the incident to contact Detective Grant Todd at (808) 961-2385, or Detective Dean Uyetake at (808) 961-2379.
Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.