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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, April 15, 2006

Autopsy confirms shot killed fleeing inmate on Big Isle

Advertiser Staff

Preliminary results of an autopsy conducted yesterday confirmed a Big Island prison inmate who was shot by a corrections officer on Tuesday died from a gunshot wound to the head, police said.

Thane Leialoha, 28, of Hilo was pronounced dead Tuesday at Hilo Medical Center after being shot at a busy intersection in downtown Hilo.

Police who arrived at the scene near the intersection of Haili and Keawe streets said an officer from Hawai'i Community Correctional Center shot Leialoha, an HCCC inmate, as Leialoha was being transported back to the jail after a court session. They said Leialoha, who was handcuffed, was fleeing from the transport van when he was shot at about 2 p.m. The report said he was not shot at close range.

He was pronounced dead at 5:56 p.m. the same day.

Department of Public Safety vans regularly shuttle inmates between HCCC and the Hilo State Building for court appearances.

After the autopsy yesterday morning, police released Leialoha's body to his family. A final autopsy report will be submitted after completion of a toxicology analysis.

Hilo detectives from the Criminal Investigations Section are continuing the investigation.

Police ask anyone who witnessed the escape and shooting to call Detective Richard Sherlock at 961-2379 or the police nonemergency number at 935-3311.

Those who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.