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2 men charged in Hilo threatening incident

Published On: Jul 25 2013 11:50:06 AM HST

Albert Espaniola (left), Hiram Kawelu

Two Hilo men are in police custody in connection with an incident over the weekend involving a car and a gun, according to Big Island police.

At 2:37 p.m. Saturday, South Hilo patrol officers responded to a home on Laula Road in Hilo to a report that two men in a Honda sedan had tried to run two acquaintances in a pickup truck off the road and had threatened one of them with a handgun twice.

The first confrontation was on Kilauea Avenue south of Kawailani Street. The second was on Haihai Street at the intersection of Laula Road.

The driver of the truck, a 26-year-old Pepe'ekeo man, and his passenger, a 25-year-old Hilo man were not injured during the encounter.

On Monday at 10:30 a.m., detectives arrested the car's driver, 25-year-old Hiram Kawelu III of Hilo. At 1:50 p.m. Monday, they arrested the passenger, 34-year-old Albert Espaniola Jr. of Hilo.  Both men were held at the Hilo police cellblock while detectives continued the investigation.

At 10:25 a.m. Wednesday, after conferring with prosecutors, detectives charged Kawelu with second-degree reckless endangering, promoting a dangerous drug, driving with a revoked license and reckless driving.  His bail was set at $13,000. Espaniola was charged with two counts of terroristic threatening.  His bail was set at $20,000.

Both men remain in the cellblock pending their initial court appearance scheduled for Thursday.

Police ask that anyone who witnessed the incidents at around 2:30 p.m. Saturday contact Detective Clarence Davies at 961-2384 or cdavies@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

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