Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating an officer involved shooting in downtown Hilo just before midnight Saturday (February 28).

At approximately 11:57 p.m., South Hilo Patrol officers were just leaving the area of the Kilauea Avenue extension in a marked police subsidized vehicle that was stopped at the Mamo Street intersection when a silver late-model Chevy compact four-door sedan sped toward them in a threʻatening manner, striking the police vehicle. The suspect’s car continued northbound on the Kilauea Avenue extension and struck a parked car, injuring a 27-year-old Ookala woman standing next to it.

Both officers exited the police vehicle, at which time the suspect’s car reversed toward the officers. In response, both officers discharged their service weapons toward the suspect’s car.

The car continued northbound on the Kilauea Avenue extension, turned left on Haili Street and then made its way onto Kinoole Street heading south. Officers pursued the suspect’s car and stopped it at the intersection of Haihai Street and Kinoole Street, where they arrested 31-year-old James Salai of Hilo on suspicion of terroristic threatening. He was taken by ambulance to Hilo Medical Center for treatment of apparent gunshot wounds and later transferred to The Queen’s Medical Center on Oahu in critical condition.

Neither officer, a 32-year-old with 7 1/2 years experience and a 28-year-old  with six months experience, was injured.

As is standard practice in any officer involved shooting, the 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 call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Wendall Carter at 961-2378 or [email protected]

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.