Suspect Charged with Assault After Allegedly Lighting Man on Fire

The Hawai`i Police Department has charged a 24-year-old Hilo man for an assault after allegedly setting another man on fire.

Investigators learned that this incident occurred Friday afternoon while the victim was visiting an acquaintance at an Akolea Road home in Hilo.

At about 1:30 p.m., the suspect arrived at the residence of their mutual acquaintance and reportedly threw an unknown flammable liquid on the victim before lighting the victim on fire. The incident is suspected to have been related to a previous disagreement between the two men who know one another.

The victim, a 30-year-old Hilo man, was taken by private vehicle to the Hilo Medical Center and later flown to Oʻahu Friday afternoon for further treatment.

Authorities say the victim remains in fair condition at the Straub Medical Center with second and third-degree burns on his lower torso and upper legs.

At 6:55 p.m. on Saturday evening the suspect, Dalston Cortez, was arrested after turning himself into the Pāhoa Station.

Cortez was taken to the Hilo cellblock while detectives with the Area I Criminal Investigation Section continued the investigation.

At 12:45 p.m. on Monday, police charged Cortez with one count of first-degree assault. His bail has been set at $10,000.

Cortez remains in police custody pending his initial appearance scheduled for Tuesday afternoon in District Court.

Anyone who witnessed this incident or may information about it is asked to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311or Detective Todd Pataray of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at (808) 961-2382 or Todd.Pataray@hawaiicounty.gov.

HPD provided photo of Dalston Cortez.