Man allegedly tries to evade police by jumping into ocean, hitting firefighter

Bail was set at $8,000 for a Pukalani man who was arrested after swimming away from police and state enforcement officers at Kahului Harbor last week and assaulting two officers and a fire rescue crew member, police said.

William A. Jackson, 56, was charged with two counts of first-degree assault on a law enforcement officer, second-degree assault, second-degree terroristic threatening and resisting arrest. He was being held Monday at the Maui Community Correctional Center.

Officers went to the harbor after a couple sitting at a table eating breakfast with their two children at about 8:10 a.m. July 22 reported that Jackson emerged from the water and approached with an aggressive stance. Jackson reportedly threatened the family, yelling at them.

The children, ages 7 and 2, began crying, police said.

When police and state Department of Land and Natural Resources enforcement officers arrived, Jackson was standing on rocks near the shoreline about 100 feet behind a building and on the ocean side of ice machines.

He was walking from rock to rock and yelled at officers to leave, saying, “This is my land, my island,” according to police.

Jackson continued yelling before he jumped into the water and began to swim away. A DLNR officer went out in a small boat and tried to get Jackson into the boat, but he refused and continued treading water and yelling and swearing, police said. The officer went into the water to try to talk Jackson into surrendering, but he again refused before the officer got close enough to use pepper spray on Jackson, police said.

With help from the DLNR officer in the water, a Maui Fire Department rescue crew member on a personal watercraft pulled Jackson onto the rear platform of the watercraft, which headed to the boat ramp, where police were waiting, according to police.

As officers were handcuffing Jackson, he elbowed and struck the rescue firefighter in the head, struck the DLNR officer in the face and bit a police officer’s left hand, police said.