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Puna man charged with terroristic threatening for driving toward police


    Joseph Paul “JP” Branco

Hawaii county police charged a 32-year-old Puna man late Monday night for allegedly driving toward police officers with a stolen pickup truck, and officers fired 13 shots to try to stop him.

Joseph Paul “JP Branco was charged with first-degree terroristic threatening, unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, resisting an order to stop, first-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, possession of drug paraphernalia and five firearms offenses.

Branco is being held at the Hawaii Community Correctional Center in lieu of $191,000 bail.

On Sunday, Branco was standing next to a stolen 2002 Toyota Tacoma on a roadway between Kopua Farm Lots and Fern Acres.

Police said Branco ignored officers’ commands and got into the stolen truck and sped toward two officers on a roadway bordered by thick brush and debris.

The officers had nowhere to retreat and fired 13 shots at Branco, who was the sole occupant in the truck, hitting the truck’s hood and windshield.

No one was injured in the incident.

One officer fired four shots and the other fired nine, police said.

They were placed on administrative leave, and the Office of Professional Standards will conduct the administrative investigation.

Police recovered a pistol and a rifle and 48 grams of crystal methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.

Anyone with information is asked to call 935-3311 or call Lt. Miles Chong at 961-2252 or email him at

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