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Charges pending for man who led police on 11-day manhunt

KEALAKEKUA — Probation was revoked and bail was increased to $100,000 in an unrelated case for a Kailua-Kona man who was captured after evading police for more than a week.

Walter Gomes III was arrested Sunday afternoon in Captain Cook without incident after leading the Hawaii Police Department on a manhunt that stretched from North Kohala to South Kona.

Gomes was wanted in connection to a shooting after a woman showed up March 20 at Kona Community Hospital with a gunshot wound to the face. The next day, 41-year-old Gomes was involved in three officer-involved shootings before fleeing from police, eventually escaping on foot into the North Kohala brush.

Gomes was on the lam 11 days before he was taken into custody. Charges from the instigating incident and ensuing events are still being determined.

On Monday, Gomes appeared in Kona Circuit Court before Judge Melvin Fujino, shackled and surrounded by five guards, in an unrelated case. A bench warrant was issued March 29 amid the search for Gomes after he allegedly violated his probation in a 2015 case, in which he pleaded no contest to second-degree theft. At the time, Judge Ronald Ibarra found him guilty and sentenced him to four years probation.

Gomes’ probation would have ended Sunday.

While charges have not been officially filed for the events of the past week and half, Gomes was in violation of his probation. Deputy Prosecutor Mark Disher recommended a high bail be put in place, requesting the judge take into consideration the current circumstances.

Fujino said the court looked at the factors surrounding the case and decided to revoke bail.

“He was a danger to himself and others and is a flight risk,” Fujino said.

Police first encountered Gomes on March 21 in Kona by Costco. After refusing commands, police opened fire on the 41-year-old when he reportedly drove at them.

Hours later, officers located Gomes in Hawi. Shots were fired again, this time at the Minit Stop and Ohana Fuels on Hawi Road and then again at Old Camp 17 Road when Gomes crashed into a police cruiser. After that, he disappeared into the North Kohala brush.

While there were reported sightings of the suspect, he wasn’t officially seen until Sunday, when he was taken into custody without incident.

“Upon contacting Gomes, he was compliant with the officer’s verbal commands, and the officers were able to take him into custody without incident,” says a police press release.

Gomes is being detained at the Kona Police cellblock.

Investigators continue to compile information stemming from the initial shooting.

“It is because of the police-community partnership that we were able to successfully bring this situation to a close. We continue to thank the community for their support and information,” said Hawaii Police Department Lt. Roylen Valera.

Gomes’ family is relieved he was brought into police custody safely.

“I talked to him today and he needs help,” said Gomes’ sister, Angela Montoy. “He has a very altered sense of reality right now.”

Montoy explained how her brother thought someone was after him, and he’s felt that way for years.

“I’m just hoping he gets the medical help with addictions,” she said. “I think he needs some mental health evaluations.”

Email Tiffany DeMasters at tdemasters@westhawaiitoday.com.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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