Big Island police arrest suspect wanted in connection to deadly shooting

Big Island police arrest suspect wanted in connection to deadly shooting

HONAUNAU, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - Big Island police have arrested a suspect wanted in connection with a deadly shooting that took place Saturday afternoon.

Brian Lee Smith, 49, was arrested for one count of second-degree murder and one count of second-degree attempted murder, police said.

The shooting left one person dead and injured two others, including Smith.

It happened around 3:10 p.m. near 85-5420 Painted Church Road in Honaunau.

When officials arrived, they found one man dead at the scene with a gunshot wound to the head.

That victim has been identified by police as 42-year-old Thomas Ballesteros Jr.

"It was also determined there were two others injured including the possible suspect," Alan Richmond, Hawaii Police Department spokesperson said Sunday.

The relationship of the men involved is unclear at this time. One of the men told officials that he wrestled with the shooter for the gun, injuring the possible suspect in the leg.

"There was some type of altercation between three males, two of them were there together," Lt. Rio Amon-Wilkins said. "One male was shot and the other two males got into a physical confrontation and both ended up getting shot as well."

Authorities say Smith fled the scene by motorcycle before they arrived. A search ensued and he was located shortly after the incident.

Police say Smith and the injured victim are both being treated for non-life threatening gunshot injuries. They have been flown to Oahu for further treatment, officials tell Hawaii News Now. Once Smith is released, he will be flown back to the Big Island for his initial court appearance.

Police also say it's not exactly clear what prompted the fight, but the investigation is ongoing.

On Sunday, police closed off the area again to better document the crime scene. A firearm was recovered.

Anyone with information is asked to call Big Island police.

This story will be updated.

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