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Pahoa man charged in assault of man in wheelchair

  • COURTESY HAWAII POLICE DEPARTMENT

    Christopher Mohrlang, 35, was charged with two offenses in connection with an assault on a man in a wheelchair.

HILO » Authorities have arrested a suspect in connection with the attack on a disabled homeless man in Pahoa.

Christopher Mohrlang, 35, turned himself in to police Friday and has been charged with assault for the June 7 incident. He was released from custody after posting $1,000 bail.

John Hartley said he was asleep outside a museum in Pahoa when he awoke to Mohrlang throwing ice water on him, spraying him in the face with Mace and punching him multiple times. Hartley, who has an amputated leg and uses a wheelchair, said he was left blind for several days after the unprovoked encounter.

“I’m still angry,” Hartley, 57, told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald after hearing about the charges against Mohrlang. “I’m still just really upset. I just want him to be held accountable. I’m not the first person he’s done this to. There are others before me. I want to prosecute this.”

Multiple residents have told the Tribune-Herald there have been similar assaults against homeless people in Pahoa in recent months, and one homeless man told the newspaper this week that he had also been attacked by the suspect. Hawaii Police Department Sgt. Brandon Konanui said on Friday that no other alleged victims had come forward to police.

Mohrland is set to be arraigned on the third-degree assault charge on July 21. The misdemeanor offense is punishable by up to one year in jail.

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  • Yep so if you homeless disabled with one leg and sentenced to life in wheelchair, it’s perfectly alright to maim, punch and harass them because they no count. With all the trees huggers out there, I cannot believe some of the comments and how people react to the less fortunate. Never would realize there were so many privileged people living out in Puna.

  • Hey media: Stop trying to criminalize “homelessness”. What difference does it make that the victim is homeless? Do we need to think less of him that he is homeless? If he had a house in Hilo would this be more sympathetic? Not all homeless are criminals. Not all criminals are homeless. Look at your past stories where the victim is homeless, or where the criminal is homeless. It’s always portrayed as a negative aspect. Be fair and objective.

  • Mohrlang should have been arrested longtime ago, shame on him picking on a (helpless) guy with his service dogs.

    Throw the book at him, or depart him at once.

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