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Bail increased for Makawao man accused of pointing knife at restaurant worker

WAILUKU — Bail was increased to $10,000 for a 19-year-old man who was arrested after allegedly pointing a knife at a restaurant worker, then trying to punch a police officer.

James Keliikupakako of Makawao was charged with first-degree terroristic threatening, attempted first-degree assault on a law enforcement officer and violating public health emergency rules.

He was arrested Saturday evening in the parking lot of Kings BBQ & Chinese Restaurant at 197 N. Market St. in Wailuku.

Police were called after a restaurant employee reported he was working in the business shortly before 6 p.m. when Keliikupakako walked up to him and brandished the knife, pointing it in the employee’s face, according to a declaration filed in court to support the charges. Keliikupakako also was described as aggressively stabbing an aluminum can.

During the defendant’s initial appearance Monday afternoon in Wailuku District Court, Deputy Prosecutor Joshua Kent said it was a “random threat made toward a restaurant worker.”

When police responded and tried to speak calmly to Keliikupakako, he tried to strike a police sergeant two to three times, Kent said. The sergeant drew his Taser before another officer detained and handcuffed Keliikupakako, according to the declaration.

Police reported finding a knife in Keliikupakako’s pants pocket. He wasn’t wearing a mask, police reported.

Kent said Keliikupakako was in court April 27 when he pleaded no contest to disorderly conduct for a similar incident when he approached and threatened a random person on the street in Wailuku. Keliikupakako was released after being sentenced to a two-day jail term, which he had already served, court records show.

In asking for bail to be increased to $10,000, Kent said “the state does feel the defendant does pose a danger to the community.”

Deputy Public Defender William Pannell asked for bail to remain at the lower amount set by police. He said Keliikupakako couldn’t afford to post bail.

Judge Blaine Kobayashi granted the request to increase bail despite the defendant’s financial situation, referring to Keliikupakako’s conviction last week.

“The court believes the defendant clearly poses a danger to the safety of our community,” Kobayashi said.

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at lfujimoto@mauinews.com.

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