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Police identify fleeing man who fell off Puna cliff into ocean

Hawaii island firefighters are continuing their search today for a 37-year-old man who went over a cliff and presumably drowned in Puna as he attempted to flee from police.

The Hawaii County Police Department has tentatively identified him as Akoni H.N. Dias of Hawaiian Paradise Park. He was wanted for questioning in a March kidnapping, terroristic threatening and burglary case that involved a handgun. Police said he was also wanted for four drug court warrants and violating terms of his probation.

At about 1:05 p.m. Monday, officers responded to a 911 dropped call from a residence off of Government Beach Road in the Hawaiian Beaches subdivision in lower Puna.

When police arrived, they observed a Nissan sedan on the property that was reported stolen in March from a Waikoloa Hotel. Police called the property owner who informed officers that he was off-island and did not give permission to anyone to be on his property.

Police then observed a residence occupied by people on the property. Officers ordered them to vacate the home when a man believed to be Dias fled.

Officers gave chase and grabbed his clothing but Dias broke free and ran toward the ocean. Police used a Taser in an attempt to immobilize him but he managed to pull himself toward the edge of a cliff and onto a perched rock five-to-seven feet below, according to a police department news release.

A large wave then crashed against the cliff, sweeping him into the ocean.

Dias was last observed floating face down and motionless in the water. Officers lost sight of him because of sea foam and waves crashing against rocks.

Firefighters responded with a rescue helicopter, boats and watercraft and scoured the waters in search of the man to no avail.

Police said a loaded handgun was recovered from the residence. An investigation is underway to determine the owner of the firearm.

Three people who were reportedly with Dias before he fled are in police custody.

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