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Man who fires blanks in air gets probation

WAILUKU — A Kahului man who told police he fired blanks into the air after hearing shots being fired nearby has been placed on one year’s probation.

Michael Yoshino, 61, was given credit for 10 days he previously spent in jail when he was sentenced last month.

Police contacted Yoshino after responding to reports by several neighbors of shots being fired from his backyard Dec. 14, 2019, said Deputy Prosecutor Sally Tobin.

She said Yoshino admitted he had been firing into the air because it was “that time of year,” in response to other shots he had heard in the area.

Defense attorney Josh James said Yoshino has no criminal record. “He’s been responsible in taking care of this matter,” James said.

Yoshino had pleaded no contest to reduced charges of second-degree reckless endangering and fourth-degree promotion of a harmful drug, as well as possessing drug paraphernalia.

The shooting was reported at about 12:30 p.m.

“Someone smelled gunpowder. Someone heard what appeared to be gunshots,” 2nd Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo said. “People are concerned.”

She noted that Yoshino told police he was firing blanks because someone across the park was shooting 9 mm rounds.

“You were literally shooting blanks,” Loo said. “People don’t know if they’re blanks or real bullets. No one wants to stick around long enough to find out if they’re real bullets or blanks.”

“I’ve heard of road rage. I’ve heard of wave rage,” Loo said. “But this is revenge rage.

“If you’re upset with your neighbors firing off rounds in the neighborhood, you can call the police,” she told Yoshino.

He said he had been checking his shotgun. “I never fired it,” he said. “I just went through some blanks.”

Police also reported finding a glass smoking pipe in Yoshino’s clothing.

Yoshino said it wasn’t his, but he had seen it and put it in his pocket.

“Most people, when they see contraband, they just leave it alone,” Loo said. “Not too many people pick it up and put it in their pockets.”

Yoshino also was ordered to pay a $500 fine and perform 100 hours of community service. His guns and ammunition were forfeited to the state.

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

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