Suspect charged after shooting in volcano evacuation zone
HONOLULU (AP) — Police have charged a man they say is seen on video shoving another man and firing a gun in a mandatory evacuation zone near the erupting Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island.
Authorities said 61-year-old John Hubbard of Leilani Estates has been charged with reckless endangering, terroristic threatening, robbery and other counts involving failure to obtain and register a firearm.
“Stress is high, anxiety is high,” Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno told reporters Wednesday. “They’ve got this live volcano in their backyard.”
Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano began spewing lava on May 3, forcing thousands of residents in the Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens neighborhoods in the Puna district to evacuate. County officials say 75 homes have been completely covered by lava, and roads have been made impassable.
Residents “see strange people in their subdivision,” Magno said. “Basically, they try to protect stuff. It’s a hard time for the folks that are still in there.”
Police have made other arrests in recent weeks within evacuation zones for property crimes such as burglary including guns, and for flying a drone.
No injuries resulted from the gunfire, but the victim, whose name was withheld by police, reported minor injuries from the scuffle.
Police say Hubbard was arrested Wednesday without incident. He remained in police custody in lieu of $222,000 bail and was slated to appear in court later Thursday.
Police responded Tuesday to a report of gunshots in Leilani Estates and were told by the victim that he and acquaintances were approached by a man in a pickup truck as they surveyed the site where his residence had been burned down by lava, county officials said.
A video posted on Facebook and authenticated by police shows the back of a white-haired man with a handgun approaching another man followed by what appears to be a brief profanity-filled argument.
The man without the gun yells to the other man that he would be arrested and screams, “Are you kidding me?” as shots are fired. He ducked as the man with the gun advanced toward him.
It was unclear if Hubbard had an attorney.
AP journalist Caleb Jones contributed to this report.