Witnesses tell of arrest in Waikapu

WAILUKU – A Maui police officer, who responded to a report of gunshots fired in a Waikapu neighborhood Friday night, testified that the suspect ranted and rambled and made verbal threats against officers while holding a knife and what appeared to be peacock feathers.

“I could hear him ranting, yelling obscenities,” said officer Wilfred Ahuna on Wednesday during a preliminary hearing for 37-year-old Christopher A. Hook of Waikapu.

Hook threatened to kill the officers, who had repeatedly told Hook to get down to the ground and to show them his hands, Ahuna said.

” ‘I kill you all. I take you all out,’ ” Ahuna recalled Hook saying Friday night during the incident at Wilikona Place, which began after shots were allegedly fired into the air from an AK-47 assault rifle.

At one point, Ahuna said Hook pointed the feathers at him and made a sound “like he is shooting a gun.”

During the incident, Hook also started a countdown from 10 but stopped before reaching one, Ahuna added.

Eventually officers, including Ahuna, were able to use their Tasers to subdue Hook, he told the court.

After listening to testimony from officers and another witness, District Court Judge Adrianne Heely ruled that there was probable cause to support the charges against Hook and bound the case over to 2nd Circuit Court. Hook will be arraigned on March 14.

He was being held on $70,200 bail at Maui Community Correctional Center.

Hook was charged with offenses including first-degree reckless endangering, first-degree resisting arrest, first-degree terroristic threatening and place to keep a loaded firearm. Additional charges were brought against Hook after his initial arrest because more evidence was obtained by police, said Deputy Prosecutor Mark Simonds.

During the hearing, Deputy Public Defender Greg Ball said that it was possible that Hook had wanted to die by police force that night.

“Suicide is not a crime in Hawaii,” Ball told the court.

Ball referred to Hook’s actions witnessed by police, including using feathers to depict shooting and reciting a countdown, as possible cues for the officers to use force.

Ball also questioned the reckless endangering charge for the shots fired in the air, noting witness Randy Das’ testimony that he had a hand on the rifle when Hook fired several shots in the air that led to the police call.

When questioned by Ball during the hearing, Das, who is a friend of Hook, said he could not have caused Hook to fire the rifle even though he had a hand on the gun. Das said he was trying to stop Hook from using the gun and had one hand on Hook’s shoulder and his other hand on the gun.

Das said he saw Hook with the AK-47 rifle outside 17 Wilikona Place, approached and spoke to him.

After Hook shot five rounds in the air, Das said he wanted to get the rifle out of Hook’s hands.

“I felt worried . . . more to just get him to put the gun away,” Das said, noting that he wasn’t in fear of his life.

He said he was more worried about the police showing up.

Eventually, Das got Hook to put the rifle into Hook’s Ford Ranger truck that has a combat veteran license plate. Both men then shut the truck door with the rifle inside.

At about 10:03 p.m., Sgt. Mel Lorenzo was the first officer to arrive on the scene in the area of Wilikona and Kemoa places and recalled seeing two males, later identified as Das and Hook.

When Lorenzo asked if everything was OK, Hook responded: “Yeah, brah, everything is all good.”

Lorenzo remembered Hook having feathers in the back of his hair.

But when Lorenzo questioned Das, he replied: “No brah, everything is not OK. My friend is going off and shooting his gun.”

Lorenzo said he then placed his bright car spotlight on Hook and ordered him repeatedly to show his hands as other officers began arriving on the scene.

Hook grabbed the feathers from his head in one hand and grabbed a knife in his other hand, Lorenzo said.

Hook swore at the officers and eventually got hit with a Taser probe after several unsuccessful tries by the officers, Lorenzo added.

Hook continued to struggle while on the ground and even tried to elbow an officer. The officers did not know if Hook had other weapons, Lorenzo said.

After subduing Hook, Lorenzo said another knife was found on Hook, as well as a canteen with a utility belt and two russet potatoes in his pocket.

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at mtanji@mauinews.com.