Police say a 49-year-old Hilo man found slain Sunday morning in Kalapana died of multiple gunshot wounds.
Lance Shitabata was apparently shot the previous evening as he was parked in his white Ford Mustang along Highway 130, a couple of hundred yards makai of the intersection with Highway 137, according to Lt. Rio Amon-Wilkins of the Hilo Criminal Investigations Section.
“The gunshots that were heard were the previous evening,” Amon-Wilkins said. “It appeared that he had been there overnight. From all indications, it appears he was in the vehicle by himself.
“There were people in the area that heard gunshots. It wasn’t that alarming to some of them at the time because it’s a fairly remote area, and people do hunt in the area.”
Amon-Wilkins said there were bullet casings found at the scene. He said the murder weapon was likely a handgun, and Shitabata was shot at “semi-close range.” He declined to disclose the caliber of the casings found.
An autopsy that had been scheduled for Monday has been delayed until today, Amon-Wilkins said.
“We’ll know a little bit more by then, when it’s done,” he said. “We’re still working on identifying suspects and a motive. At this point, we don’t have either.”
The case is classified as a second-degree murder and detectives continue to investigate.
Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Clarence Davies at 961-2384 or email him at Clarence.Davies@hawaiicounty.gov.
Those who prefer anonymity can call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300.
“If there was anybody who saw him … down in the area or drove by the area where his vehicle was parked that night — or if there’s anything at all that they remember, if they could just call police,” Amon-Wilkins said.
Email John Burnett at email@example.com.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald