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Police and DLNR take down encampment of houseless people in Hilo

DLNR and Hawaii County Police take down the homeless encampment at Hilo Bayfront on Friday as part of a joint action.


HILO (Island News)– An autopsy was conducted Friday for the man who died after a brawl at the Hilo Bus Terminal. Police have identified the victim as Jimmy Kaneala Carmichael.

The 34 year old suffered an “acute cardiac event” prior to his death— a forensic pathologist determined, ruling out skull or brain injury as the cause of death. The man died soon after a brawl in the parking lot of the Mo’ouheau bus station.

The section of Bayfront in Hilo while the fight took place, looks very different than it did a week ago. There used to be tents that lined the makai fence and lawn of the parking area, but after Hawaii County and the DLNR swept the vicinity last Friday, all those tents are now gone.

The fatal incident involved several men, some of them confirmed from the homeless community.

Friday’s sweep removed near a dozen tents from the area. Hope Services sheltered 10 people following the action, including a family with a five-year-old son. Hope Services told Island News that though they offer support, they are against the sweep action itself.

Police continue to investigate the violent incident preceding the death of Carmichael.

“Officers arrived, they located the male. He was slumped over, actually on the ground right in front of the bus terminal on the sidewalk, unconscious. Officers immediately began CPR until rescue showed up and took over and then transported him to the Hilo Medical Center emergency room. He was pronounced dead a short time later,” Captain Rio Amon-Wilkins of the Hawaii Police Department told Island News.

“After that physical altercation he grabbed some of his belongings from a tent there in the homeless camp area, got on a skateboard and rode through the bus terminal parking lot,” Amon-Wilkins added.

Houseless advocates say the sweeps of encampments create an unsafe environment, whereby the problem doesn’t resolve, just because people are no longer visible. Critics of the sweep action say that it is also a burden on business owners, as the population of the houseless is simply moves mauka into town after an enforcement action.

Neither the County nor State maintains a homeless shelter on the Big Island.