While documents show it was Sheriff Martin that gave the order to shoot, it was his lieutenant, Charlie Warren, who was considered Martin's enforcer.
"(Martin) began by bayoneting one of the demonstrators, Kai Uratani," said Puette. "It's amazing he didn't die on the spot, because it was a very severe injury."
As Uratani lay on the ground, officers fired upon the crowd with riot guns, firing buck and bird shot indiscriminately.
During research for his book, as well as a television documentary, Puette uncovered black and white film and photographs of the massacre at the state archives.
"You can pretty much tell exactly when the shooting started because people began responding to it and falling on the ground," said Puette. "A whole bunch of other people started moving off to jump into the water for their safety."
Amazingly, the Hilo Massacre wasn't the first act of violence against union members or sympathizers in Hawaii. In 1924, 16 Filipino union members and four police officers were killed on the island of Kauai in what came to be known as the Hanapepe Massacre.
Although investigations ensued after both events, no one in a position of authority was ever charged or prosecuted.
However, the Hilo Massacre provided the impetus for a multi-cultural labor movement that involved Caucasians, Chinese, Filipinos and Japanese.
"You saw a lot of sympathy in the public suddenly generated," said Puette.