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Firing shots in air after burning rubber incident leads to jail

The Maui News

WAILUKU — A 30-day jail term was ordered for a Kahului man who said he fired a semiautomatic rifle in the air after becoming angry when he was confronted about burning rubber in a cul-de-sac last year.

“That was stupid . . . what I did,” Jesse Andaya said at his sentencing May 29. “That’s totally not who I am.

“I was real emotional. I let it get the best of me.”

Andaya, 33, had pleaded no contest to first-degree reckless endangering.

When he fired the AR-15 semiautomatic rifle Sept. 18, Andaya endangered others in his neighborhood, said Deputy Prosecutor Lyle Keanini. He said a neighbor who heard the shot had her grandchildren lie down on her living room floor.

A plea agreement between the defense and prosecution recommended probation for Andaya, who has no prior record.

He said he was holding the rifle and five other firearms in a gun safe for a friend who had moved to Las Vegas.

Andaya has surrendered the weapons, as well as five registered firearms of his own, said Deputy Public Defender Tyler Stevenson.

That day, Andaya said he had argued with his mother and was upset over the argument when he burned rubber. He acknowledged he didn’t like that a man came into the cul-de-sac asking who had burned rubber.

Andaya said he was going home when he passed a street, noticed the man who had been asking “and he kind of challenged me.”

“He was without a T-shirt and puffed his chest out,” Andaya said. “He took two steps toward my vehicle.”

Andaya said he went home and went into the gun safe to get the rifle.

“What was the point of doing that?” Bissen asked. “You were responding to his no-shirt, puffy-chest-moving-toward-you movement? So that was intended for him?”

Andaya said no.

“After I fired it, I stopped,” he said. “I didn’t really say anything after that. I was kind of calling him out before that — where are you at? I’m right here. I guess I nevah get any response.”

Andaya told police he had loaded the rifle with four rounds, fired it, then unloaded it and put it back in the safe.

“What message were you trying to send?” Judge Bissen asked.

“This is my neighborhood. Why you say anything?” Andaya replied.

“So he’s not allowed to say, ‘Don’t burn rubber cause there’s kids in the neighborhood?’ ” Bissen said. “Only you can lay down the law? Only you can tell people what to do?”

“That’s what I was trying to say,” Andaya said.

“You’re wrong,” the judge said. “You don’t get to do that.”

A round fired into the air will come down with more force than when it went up, Bissen said.

“This isn’t just reckless,” he said. “This is dangerous.”

He said he didn’t know how Andaya qualified to have firearms with his documented anger control problems.

Bissen said he thought Andaya was a good worker and probably a good son.

“You can have a bad day, but you don’t get to make everybody else’s day bad just because your day is bad,” Bissen said. “You don’t get to fire a gun in your neighborhood or burn rubber.”

As part of his sentence, Andaya was placed on four years’ probation and was ordered to complete anger management treatment. He was allowed to serve the jail term on weekends so he wouldn’t lose his job.