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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 9:34 p.m., Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Fleeing Big Island inmate shot, dies

By Kevin Dayton
Advertiser Big Island Bureau

HILO, Hawai'i — A handcuffed inmate who bolted from a prison van at a busy downtown Hilo intersection yesterday was fatally shot in the head by a corrections officer, witnesses said.

Police said the inmate, identified as Thane Leialoha, 28, of Hilo, was pronounced dead at 5:56 p.m. at Hilo Medical Center. He had been taken to the hospital in critical condition.

The shooting happened at 2:09 p.m. on a street in the business district between a health club and an Italian restaurant.

Police blocked off the area around the intersection at Haili Street and Kilauea Avenue for about three hours while they investigated the alleged escape attempt and shooting.

Peter Cabreros, acting warden at Hawai'i Community Correctional Center, said the van was returning to the jail when the incident occurred. Department of Public Safety vans regularly shuttle inmates between HCCC and the Hilo State Building for court appearances.

Police said a preliminary investigation shows Leialoha was being transported back to Hilo Community Correctional Center and was allegedly fleeing from custody at the time of the shooting.