Man arrested, being held in fatal shooting of 24-year-old

A Molokai man was arrested in the fatal shooting Wednesday night of his 24-year-old girlfriend at a Kawela apartment complex, police said.

The 33-year-old Honouliwai man was arrested shortly before 8 a.m. Thursday after he surrendered to police, who had located the compact Honda sedan he was driving near his residence.

He had fled in the car after the shooting reported at 8:59 p.m. Wednesday at Kawela Barns Apartments at 2626 Kamehameha V Highway, police said.

Molokai patrol officers arriving at the location found 24-year-old Malia Kahalewai with injuries from a single gunshot wound to her chest, police said. She was transported in critical condition to Molokai General Hospital, where she died, police said.

An autopsy is pending.

Police said Kahalewai and the suspect lived together, had been in a relationship for nine years and had children together.

The suspect remained in police custody but had not been charged late Thursday afternoon. Police reported recovering the rifle believed to have been used in the shooting.

According to court records, the suspect had been convicted of abusing his girlfriend in a 2008 case. That year, she had sought a restraining order against him, which was dissolved when a judge ruled that allegations hadn’t been proved at a hearing, according to court records.

The suspect was arrested Saturday in another abuse investigation, police said. At 4:48 p.m., Kahalewai was in the driver’s seat and a female friend was in the passenger seat of a car in a church parking lot at Kalamaula when the suspect suddenly showed up, police said. He opened the driver’s door and struck Kahalewai in the left cheek with his right elbow, police said, and an altercation followed as he tried to remove the key from the ignition.

After getting the key, the suspect got into another vehicle and left, police said. He was arrested and charged with abuse at 6:25 that night at the Molokai Police Station. The suspect was released after posting $1,000 bail, police records show.

As part of the arrest, he was issued a warning citation to stay away from Kahalewai. The citation expired at 4:30 p.m. Monday, police said.

In addition to the abuse conviction, the suspect’s record includes convictions for first-degree burglary, second-degree robbery and third-degree assault of a woman who was beaten until she was unconscious in her East Molokai home in April 1998. The suspect was sentenced to a one-year jail term as part of five years’ probation in that case.

After a jury trial in August 2002, he was acquitted of charges alleging that he pointed a rifle at his then-girlfriend and her father and fired a shot in the valley where his family lives in August 2001. He also was acquitted of charges that he wielded a knife and threatened two police officers who went to question him about what happened.

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at