WAILUKU - A man charged with threatening a neighbor and his four children with an assault rifle was released on supervision Thursday, after he agreed to waive a preliminary hearing and face charges in 2nd Circuit Court.
Phillip Ballard, 53, was ordered to stay away from the man and his family. Ballard also was ordered not to return unsupervised to the Puuone Gardens apartment complex on Liholiho Street in Wailuku.
Wailuku patrol officers were called to the complex after a resident reported that Ballard pointed the rifle at the resident and his four children, ages 11, 10, 7 and 4 months, as they were getting into their vehicle Sunday afternoon. The resident told police that Ballard had been next to a car loading bullets into a magazine and said, "Do you want some of this?" before getting into the car and pulling out the rifle.
Ten to 15 minutes earlier, at about 12:45 p.m., the man and his wife had been unloading groceries from the vehicle when Ballard had yelled at the couple to use their own parking stall, police said. The couple's vehicle had been parked next to a stairwell to their apartment.
After pointing the rifle, Ballard drove away, police said.
Police obtained the license number of the vehicle, which officers stopped at about 2 p.m. as it was turning onto Mahalani Street from Kaahumanu Avenue. Ballard's mother, who owns the vehicle and was in the passenger seat, gave permission for police to search the car. In the trunk, police reported finding the AR-15 rifle, which was loaded with one round in the chamber, police said. Police also recovered three 30-round magazines, each containing 22 to 27 bullets. It's illegal to have a magazine that can carry more than 10 rounds.
Ballard was charged with five counts of first-degree terroristic threatening, carrying a loaded firearm on a highway, prohibited possession of a firearm, prohibited possession of ammunition, keeping a loaded firearm in an improper place, acquiring a firearm without registration and three counts of possession of a prohibited magazine.
Because of a 1997 abuse conviction, Ballard is not allowed to possess firearms and ammunition.
After his arrest, police obtained a search warrant for Ballard's apartment, finding no additional firearms, said Deputy Prosecutor Lewis Littlepage.
Ballard's bail had been set at $79,000, but a bail study recommended that bail be reduced.
Defense attorney Sam MacRoberts asked that Ballard be released on supervision, saying his mother and brother would help monitor Ballard so he follows court requirements.
Wailuku District Judge Adrianne Heely said she took into consideration Ballard's family support, his lack of significant criminal history and the police search that turned up no other firearms in ordering Ballard's release on supervision.
He was ordered not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs and to report for random drug testing.
Ballard, who is unemployed and has been ordered to vacate his apartment within 45 days, was ordered not to return to the complex unless accompanied by his brother, his lawyer or police.
He is scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 1 in 2nd Circuit Court.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.