Posted on July 27, 2004

Big Isle Attack Directed Against Caucasians, Witness Says

Rod Thompson, (HI), Jul. 14

KAILUA-KONA >> A group of people who allegedly attacked campers at isolated Makalawena Beach in Kona early Saturday morning were shouting racial insults against Caucasians, says one of the victims.

Kai Dechape said yesterday that he heard one attacker say, “Any f . . .. haoles want to die?”

“I think they would have attacked anyone with white skin,” Dechape, 18, told the Star-Bulletin.

But two high-ranking police officers expressed doubt that race motivated the attack. “That’s the first time I’ve heard that,” said Assistant Chief Thomas Hickcox.

Capt. Robert Hickcox, the assistant chief’s brother, also said he doubted a racial motivation, suggesting instead that alcohol led to the alleged attack.

About 1 a.m., as many as 20 people confronted a group of up to 50 people at a quiet party on the beach.

“The perpetrators appeared to be intoxicated,” Hickcox said. He said he didn’t want to go into details because police need to re-interview witnesses.

Dechape said he arrived at the party from work about 11 p.m. The event was a going-away party for him and his brother Jahvan, since they are moving to California soon, he said. He didn’t drink alcohol, but some of the partygoers did, he said.

About 1 p.m., about 20 “local” men and women arrived in vehicles just as the people on the beach were ready to go to sleep, Dechape said.

“Everything was cool at first,” he said. No one was giving anybody any “lip,” he said.

Dechape said one of the newcomers suddenly attacked his roommate, Garrett Fitts, 18. Some partygoers went to protect Fitts while some of the attackers’ friends joined the attack, Dechape said.

Fitts, who later told Dechape he was knocked out, was taken to Kona Hospital for treatment. Two other men, both 21, lay on the ground, not moving to avoid further attack, Dechape said.

Dechape said he and others sat frozen in a locked four-wheel-drive vehicle during the attack.

One attacker smashed a window, spraying broken glass over them, he said. The same attacker grabbed another man’s glasses and ran away, he said.

Most of the 50 initial partygoers scattered, but the attack against about eight of them continued until one woman was able to call police at 1:42 a.m.

When things calmed down, the victims tried to drive away, but found the rugged, rocky road from the beach blocked by the attackers, Dechape said. One of the victims’ cars broke through, but Dechape said he and others had to wait until police made arrests.

He discovered that police had used pepper spray to subdue some suspects.

Police filed charges against seven adults and four juveniles. But they allowed others to drive past them and leave, Dechape said.