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Police: Man killed by officers wanted for questioning in Hilo shooting

  • DARYL LEE / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER Police investigated the scene of an officer-involved shooting in Hilo this morning that left one man dead and his female passenger critically injured. Officers opened fire on the man, a wanted fugitive, after he reportedly drove his vehicle towards the officers.

    Hawaii County police investigate the scene of an officer-involved shooting at the drive-through window of the McDonald’s restaurant in the Puainako Center.


    Ronald Barawis Jr.

Hawaii County police said officers killed a fugitive trying to evade arrest, and critically wounded a woman early this morning in a shooting at the drive-through window of the McDonald’s restaurant in the Puainako Center in Hilo.

Police identified the man killed as 38-year-old Ronald Barawis of Kailua-Kona. The 28-year-old woman from Mountain View was airlifted to the Queen’s Medical Center on Oahu, where she is in critical but stable condition, police said.

Hilo police said the incident began at 12:20 a.m. when officers saw a Barawis, known to be armed and dangerous, driving a car at the McDonald’s at the shopping center off Kanoelehua Avenue.

Officers ordered him to step out of the vehicle. Instead, he drove over the drive-through’s barrier curb, accelerated, drove directly at an officer and then rammed into two police vehicles, police said.

Three officers fired at the vehicle, killing the driver, police said. A woman, sitting in the front passenger seat, was also shot.

Police said officers saw a shotgun, assault-type rifle, and two semi-automatic handguns withing Barawis’ reach in the vehicle. There also appeared to be a bulletproof-type vest on the backrest of the passenger seat, police said.

Bararwis is featured in this week’s episode of “Hawaii Island’s Most Wanted,” a police-produced television show that airs on a community cable channel. The episode airs tonight.

Police said Barawis, who has a prominent tattoo on the right side of his face, was wanted for violating parole and failure to appear in court.

He was also wanted for questioning in a shooting in December in the upper Kaumana Drive area of Hilo. Police also believed Barawis drove a vehicle at an officer on Jan. 20 in Kailua-Kona.

In the shooting incident, police said a 29-year-old Keaau man reported that suspects in a late-model white sedan shot at a Toyota Tacoma pickup truck just after midnight on Dec. 29. Police tried to stop the sedan, but the driver sped away.

The officers who fired their weapons have 20, 15, and 6 years of experience, police said.

The officers were placed on paid administrative leave and police began an investigation of the shooting.

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 CrimeStoppers at 961-8300.

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