Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Wednesday, May 29, 2024 74° Today's Paper

Top News

Lava evacuee recounts Leilani Estates shooting near flow

Swipe or click to see more


Fissure 8 from Kupono St. in Leilani Estates, May 30.

A woman who evacuated her home because of the erupting Kilauea volcano said today she filmed an angry neighbor shooting at a man near a lava flow.

Patty Jones told the Associated Press she started recording cellphone video after the man stormed out of his pickup truck and accosted another neighbor last week, believing the man didn’t belong there. Her video shows the first man firing over the other man’s head. The first man pointed the gun at the second, who was screaming, “I live here.”

John Hubbard is charged with reckless endangering, terroristic threatening and other charges in state court. U.S. prosecutors have also charged him with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Tensions have been running high over looting fears in Leilani Estates, where lava has been flowing since early May in a mostly rural district of Hawaii’s Big Island.

Lava has destroyed more than 600 homes, Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim told reporters today.

Jones evacuated her home on May 3 when a first of a series of fissures opened up in her neighborhood. She has been sleeping at a shelter and returns when evacuees are allowed to enter the subdivision during the day if conditions are safe. May 29 was one of the days she returned to check on her home, she went to look at a nearby flow that had hardened but was still warm.

The man parked his truck behind her and stomped out, she said. “I just assumed he was somebody coming to look at the lava like everybody else,” she said.

“When he pulled out his gun, there was nothing I could do,” she adding, that she never expected anyone to have a weapon. “I wasn’t even expecting the attitude he came on with.”

The man demanded to know where Jones and the other man live. They all live in Leilani Estates, but didn’t know each other prior to the shooting. Jones said her home is still standing, but she believes Hubbard’s house burned down that day.

The man Hubbard allegedly pointed his gun at did nothing to provoke the shooting, Jones said.

“Everyone is always so cordial and helpful with one another,” she said. “For this guy to come on with such an aggressive attitude was really a surprise to me.”

Hubbard was expected in state court on the Big Island today. State Public Defender Jack Tonaki, whose office is representing him, said it’s too early to comment.

Ethan Edwards, identified in court documents as the victim, told the Associated Press in a Facebook message that he was headed to Hubbard’s preliminary hearing and wasn’t sure if he would be needed to testify.

“Our hearts go out to the people in Puna,” said Mitch Roth, the Big Island’s top prosecutor. “A lot of people are going through a lot of stress.”

Roth’s office is prosecuting a looting case, a robbery case and several cases of people forcing their way through blocked areas during the lava ordeal.

>> Norwegian Cruise Line will resume Big Isle port calls
>> 7 more citations issued to loiterers in active Kilauea eruption zones
>> Residents feel safe despite lava but chafe at government controls
>> Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim loses home to lava

>> Kilauea dashes Oahu newlyweds’ dreams
>> Governor signs proclamation on housing and criminal penalties
>> Lava buries Vacationland, pours into ocean
>> Website to centralize Big Island air quality reporting
>> Kilauea eruption harms up to half of Malama Ki forest reserve
>> Volcanoes National Park’s most important facility damaged by quake
>> Fire helicopter rescues woman, her pet rabbit and chicken isolated by lava
>> Man charged with running Puna checkpoint near approaching lava

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines. Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.