HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Gunfire broke out in the parking lot of a busy Hilo shopping center Wednesday when police shot at a suspect who allegedly drove a truck at officers.
Authorities said police responded to Puainako Town Center after an off-duty officer spotted a stolen truck that was the subject of an all points bulletin.
Officers approached the truck on foot, and that’s when the suspect started driving toward them, narrowly missing officers, police said.
Two police officers opened fire and the suspect ― identified as 24-year-old Tearon Pacheco-Fernandez ― fled the scene. Police said she frequents Puna and Hilo, and is described as being 4-foot-9 and weighing about 110 pounds with medium length black hair.
The shooting happened about noon as shoppers flocked to the shopping center with a busy supermarket for last-minute Thanksgiving purchases.
Several cars were also damaged in the melee, including a sedan driven by a 71-year-old Hilo man.
“We had officers initially in another part of town, making checks for a wanted individual. They weren’t able to locate their person," said Police Lt. Rio Amon-Wilkins.
“A little while later, they got information from an off-duty officer in this area that they observed the vehicle matching the description of the one that this individual was in earlier.”
He said the officers responded to the supermarket parking lot, “were able to identify the driver, and then everything happened from that point.”
When the shooting started, shoppers hunkered down in a nearby Jack In The Box.
“We locked down the store, made sure everybody was safe, and connected with the cops," said one employee at the eatery.
A witness who identified himself as “KJ” said he was walking into the Jack In The Box when he heard the gunshots. “I see the truck in front of me ... the police are shooting,” he said.
Police said the patrol officers who fired on the suspect had six and 15 years of service in the department. No officers on scene were injured.
Authorities said a manhunt is underway for Pacheco-Fernandez, who is also wanted in connection with an incident in which she allegedly rammed an unmarked police vehicle.
She was driving a lifted Tacoma pickup spray painted gray. The license plate on the rear is ZCT-556, but the front place reads HDZ-877. The truck is believed to have been stolen from a business in Hilo.
This story will be updated.