Hawaii Island police reveal disturbing details in triple-murder, suspect’s arrest

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Hawaii Island police arrested a Puna man early Friday morning on suspicion of multiple murders.

At approximately 1:30 a.m. May 6, officers responded to a disturbance call in the Leilani Estates subdivision in Puna.

“When they got to the house in question, they noticed someone pulling out of the driveway area and started to drive down the road. The vehicle was also driving with no lights on, so they initiated a traffic stop,” explained Capt. Robert Wagner with the Hawaii Police Department.

The driver of the vehicle was identified as John Ali Hoffman, 49, of Leilani Estates. According to Wagner, officers saw a handgun next to him and arrested him for a firearms offense.

“While they were there, they noticed there was liquid coming out of the trunk of the vehicle, which appeared to be red in color, consistent with blood, so they conducted check of trunk area and upon opening the trunk area of the vehicle, they discovered the body of an adult female,” Wagner said. “At that point, they backtracked, checked the house (to) make everything was okay in that particular house, and at that point, they discovered the bodies of two juveniles within that home,” a boy and a girl.

Police would not confirm whether the victims were Hoffman’s wife and their two young children, however “it does appear that he lived at the same house with the people that actually expired,” Wagner said.

Autopsies are pending.

Hoffman was arrested on suspicion of three counts of second-degree murder and one count of first-degree murder, in addition to the original firearms offense.

He is being held in the Hilo police cellblock pending further investigation.

Wagner says this crime is “very unusual. It’s not like our island to have this type of particular incident occur.”

Police ask anyone with information about this case to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Scott Amaral at 961-2276 or scott.amaral@hawaiicounty.gov.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

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