Kona News — Police: Robert York Set Himself On Fire, And Attempted To Do The Same To His Ex-Girlfriend

(Media release) — A South Kona man is in police custody after setting himself on fire and attempting to do the same to his ex-girlfriend.

Police initially received a 1:21 a.m. report Tuesday (February 14) that a man was walking on Tobacco Road in Hōnaunau with a knife. En route, Kona patrol officers received updates that a house at that location was on fire.

Upon arrival, the officers determined that the suspect, 27-year-old Robert York of Hōnaunau, had reportedly gone to the home of his ex-girlfriend, poured a flammable liquid on the front porch and lit it on fire.

After the 26-year-old victim escaped from the house by climbing out a window, the suspect reportedly restrained her and poured the flammable liquid onto both her and himself.

The victim’s relatives, who live in another house on the same property, heard the commotion, exited their house and pulled the suspect away from the victim. As one of the relatives was fighting the flames on the porch with a garden hose, the suspect set himself on fire.

The relatives helped the suspect [corrected party] extinguish the flames. The suspect [corrected party] then fled from the property on foot.

A short time later, the suspect called 911 and was taken by ambulance to Kona Community Hospital for treatment of burns.

Police made contact with York at the hospital. When he was discharged from the hospital at 10:15 a.m. Wednesday, officers arrested him on suspicion of abuse, terroristic threatening and arson. He is being held at the Kona police cellblock while detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section continue the investigation.

The victim did not require medical attention for the injuries she received during the struggle with the suspect.

(Submitted by Hawaii Police Department via Nixle.)

1 reply
  1. konagold3
    konagold3 says:


    what a sad tale

    Robert York has been a frequent participant at the open mic nite I host weekly at Kaya’s Coffee shop in Kawanui [between Honalo and Kainaliu ]

    the real mind rape of all this for me and others at Kaya’s is that Robert would sign up as “Lopaka the PEACEKEEPER”

    tho in hindsight ‘Lopaka’ was always sitting by himself prior to getting behind the mic

    I always chalked it up to him getting prepared to go on — where the rest of us are far more social whether we are getting ready to go on or not

    the songs he would perform seemed to have a positive message to a ska beat

    I was told tonight [Sat. is open mic night 6 to 10 pm] that ‘Lopaka’ had recently attempted suicide standing in the middle of the Hwy with his dog trying to get run over

    this attempted murder act by him is 180 degrees — times ten — opposite what any of us at the open mic would have ever suspected [more than one jaw dropped to the floor tonight as they heard the story]

    yet tonight we felt blessed as this story could be so much worse

    some of the details as I understand them is that across the breezeway where he accosted her was the bedroom of the 4-7 [I’m a pea-brain when it comes to remembering kids ages –sorry] year old son of the woman York accosted

    had there not been swift action by her boyfriend drop kicking the lighter out of York’s hand when EVERYONE WAS SOAKED WITH GAS and then quickly flushed the mom down with water and put out “Lopaka” after he had ignited himself [the boyfriend said to me tonight that maybe he shouldn’t have — to which I remarked that it is a mark of his, the boyfriend’s, basic decency] not only would a horrible loss of life have occurred mother and son, and ” the Peacekeeper’s” but Kona might be at the white hot media center of a similar tragic atrocity as Josh Powell igniting himself and his two young sons has peaked the world interest

    Everybody’s broken

    each of us

    some far worse than others

    tho our highest moral imperative is to love one another, to live by the golden rule, to forgive those who trespass against us ; such incomprehensible actions as this are not easily forgiven nor forgotten

    but ultimately for those harmed by such an act, terrorized, bruised and hydrocarbon burned from petrol on skin, to forgive is the best way to heal the wounds to their mind, to their peace, to their heart

    we [my musical friends and I] ended the night with ‘I Shall Be Released’ which followed this tune [of the following lyrics] I said “’cause this has been a weird week its time to take it to church” [please forgive any ‘loose use’ of the Hawaiian language as the intent is for the good]

    Jesus said that this world
    Well it’s just like a bridge
    You can pass over
    But you should not build your house on it

    The road that we are on
    Well it’s just about gone
    I can hear the conductor calling
    The end of the line
    The end of the line

    Mornin’ glory
    Oh I’m second story
    Feel so tall
    Like a prison wall

    Mahalo ke Akua
    Thank you lord I wanna thank you lord
    Mahalo ke Akua
    Thank you lord I wanna thank you lord

    Aloha ke Akua
    Love God, God is Love
    Aloha ke Akua
    Love God, God is Love

    Keala ke Akua
    Walk with God take a little walk with God
    Keala ke Akua
    Walk with God take a little walk with God

    which we then segued into For What It’s Worth

    music is a good way to help the healing

    Tiffany [or anybody so inclined]if you should/could ever find yourself in Kona on a Sat. night come on by

    we have 40 to 55 folks in attendance with 12 to 15 performances a typical night [we had to cap signing up to play before 8 tonight so everyone could get a chance to play]

    the types of performances very from a few who have never been on a mic to talented professional acts wanting to share on a night they had no gig

    the crowd is our best asset because this gig is not at a bar but an actual coffee house

    there are no drunks

    no meat market atmosphere of a bar

    the several single pretty women who show up seem at ease not being hounded by some horn dog

    the folks are UP [coffee at night], happy, appreciative, forgiving, involved, helpful

    the Shop is named after the young grandson of the proprietor and his daughters and family run the place

    Kaya is often there and there are small chairs and tables and toys coloring books etc

    so young kids can and do come to the open mic

    it is one of the few places a young family can take a kid out and be entertained for hours for low cost [no cover charge]

    South Kona Mauka could use a little of your media coverage, Tiffany, as Hilo and Puna are our sister communities it would be nice to see some folks cross the island to play a few tunes — both ways

    I like your ‘blog’ for its coverage of things Puna and Hilo, a little more Kona tossed in would be great other than someone breaking so badly they try to burn themselves, and others off the planet, [I know your Pahoa centric, a busy mom with more irons in the fire than porcupines have quills but surfs been up lately on western shores and I just thought I’d extend a invite — one never can tell what tomorrow brings]

    I find that Robert York or Lopaka [as I most frequently addressed him] is in my prayers

    I can only pity the pain that he must be in to have hurt himself so badly both internally and externally [his mug shot was hardly recognizable for the burns on his face] to have lost his freedom probably for many years and to be so broken in the first place to have tried to have ended it all and murder others including a innocent child via fire

    they say he showed up dressed in black with the knife the gas and –a glove?? if so seemingly a premeditated, thought out assault

    the young mom her son and family are also in my prayers not only for the healing of their trauma and wounds but in thankfulness at their escape from such a horrible a tragedy as this could have been


    Rev. Dennis Shields

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