A 49-year-old Puna man was arrested for first-degree murder early Friday after police found a woman's body in the blood-soaked trunk of the car he was driving and subsequently discovered her two children fatally shot in a Leilani Estates home.
Police said John Ali Hoffman, of Leilani Estates, was in a relationship with the woman and was living with her and her children.
The woman's children were 7 and 9, sources said.
Police said they were called to the rural Leilani Estates subdivision about 1:30 a.m., after getting a report about a disturbance.
When they arrived, police stopped Hoffman, who was driving away from the home without his lights on.
Police said they arrested Hoffman after seeing a gun in his front seat. Officers then spotted blood dripping from the trunk of the car, and found the woman's body inside. Police said she had been fatally shot.
Police then checked the home where the reported disturbance happened and found the bodies of two children, a boy and a girl.
Hoffman's sister-in-law, Marie Hoffman, told the Associated Press that John Ali Hoffman is originally from St. Louis and moved to the islands 20 years ago.
She said she was shocked to hear about the allegations against him.
"That doesn't sound right," she said. "He's stern, but he's cool.
Hoffman was arrested on three counts of second-degree murder, one count of first-degree murder, and a firearms offense. He is being in the Hilo cellblock.
The identities of the victims have not been released.