Two inmates at the Hawaii Community Correctional Center allegedly attacked two corrections officers Sunday after they were told they could not push tables together to eat with friends because that would violate social-distancing mandates at the Hilo jail.
Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Toni Schwartz said in a written statement the incident occurred at about 11:50 a.m. Sunday.
“The situation was brought quickly under control by security staff,” she said.
The two staff members were treated for injuries and released from Hilo Medical Center, and both officers are pressing criminal charges against the inmates.
According to Schwartz, preliminary reports indicate inmate Dustin Snedeker-Abadilla, 29, became upset when his request was denied to join tables together to eat with his friends. The tables are separated in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and Snedeker-Abadilla and inmate Kevin Kuhia, 41, allegedly became aggressive and assaulted the corrections officers.
“Preliminary reports indicate at least three other inmates may have also been involved,” Schwartz said in a written response to questions. All five prisoners were assessed by medical staff for injuries and rehoused.
“We are relieved that this situation ended without major incident and the staff are doing ok,” said Acting Public Safety Director Fred Hyun. “We never want to see these types of things happen to our employees. Staff followed through with their training and were prepared to react immediately and stabilize the situation. I commend them for a job well done.”
Hawaii County police are investigating to determine who else may have been involved and many be subject to criminal charges. The incident is also under investigation by corrections officials for possible internal disciplinary action.
Snedeker-Abadilla is awaiting trial on charges of robbery, abuse of family or household member, first-degree theft, unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, and first-degree assault.
Kuhia is awaiting trial on charges of second-degree theft, promotion of a dangerous drug, a drug paraphernalia charge and unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle.
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