A 30-year-old Kailua-Kona man tried to enter a Mauna Kea telescope facility while employees were barricaded inside and then tried to ram the vehicle of a ranger from the Office of Mauna Kea Management, who tried to intervene, police said today.
James Coleman is charged with second-degree burglary, first-degree criminal property damage, attempted first-degree criminal property damage, two counts of second-degree criminal property damage and two counts of second-degree terroristic threatening.
Officers responded at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday to a report of a traffic accident involving a disorderly man near the summit of Mauna Kea at the Very Long Baseline Array radio telescope.
His bail was set at $84,000.
Coleman is scheduled to make his initial court appearance Friday.
He allegedly drove a vehicle onto the Very Long Baseline Array station, damaging the installation’s fence, building and official vehicles, according to a news release from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.
The two employees in the building were not injured, the observatory said.
“Initial reports indicate that the radio-telescope antenna is undamaged,” the observatory said.
University of Hawaii spokesman Dan Meisenzahl said there is no indication the man was part of any movement opposed to the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea, but university officials will await the outcome of a police investigation.
The Very Long Baseline Array station is a continentwide radio telescope system, with 10 25-meter diameter dish antennas, of which the Mauna Kea antenna is the westernmost. One is in St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the other eight are on the mainland.
The facility is about two miles below the summit.