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Kakaako arson suspect pleads not guilty, remains in OCCC

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Casey Asato, seated in a wheelchair at the lower right of screen next to his defense attorney Michael Park, is charged with allegedly setting a Kakaako business on fire and made his first court appearance at his arraignment at Circuit Court via closed-circuit video link this morning.

A 37-year-old Waipahu man accused of firing a gunshot and setting a fire at a Kakaako auto body repair business where his estranged wife works pleaded not guilty this morning to charges of arson and multiple terroristic threatening charges.

Casey Yoshihiro Asato used a wheelchair for his appearance before Judge Shirley Kawamura — via closed-circuit video from the Oahu Community Correctional Center — on charges of first-degree arson, place to keep a pistol or revolver and reckless endangering. He was also charged with four counts of first-degree terroristic threatening and two counts of second-degree terroristic threatening.

Asato’s attorney, Michael Park, said Asato needs to use a wheelchair after he was shot multiple times by Honolulu police.

In February, police tracked Asato to the parking lot of the Mahi Ko in Waikele townhouse complex, where he lives. After a standoff, Asato allegedly took a handgun from his waistband and pointed it at police.

“Multiple bullets struck him,” Park told Judge Kawamura.

Park said his client has no prior criminal history, owns his home, works as a foreman and is not a flight risk.

“This appears to be a very isolated incident,” Park told Kawamura.

But Kawamura denied Park’s request to release Asato on supervised release. Instead, Asato remained in OCCC on $1 million bail.

Kawamura scheduled Asato’s trial for June 3.

At about 11:35 a.m. on Feb. 21, Asato arrived at the Advanced Collision Center on Kawaihao Street in an “agitated state” and asked his wife why the staff at the school their two children attend was not allowing him to see them, according to a police affidavit.

He left the business and his wife left shortly afterward.

Sometime after 3 p.m., he returned to the collision center looking for her and their two children. Police said he asked the business owner where they were and threatened the business owner with a silver handgun.

Asato then allegedly fired a shot on the ground and set the office on fire with a flammable liquid before he fled. The business owner jumped over the flames and fled the building.

Two hours later, plainclothes officers of the Honolulu Police Department’s Crime Reduction Unit and uniformed officers located Asato in the parking lot of his townhome in Waikele.

Police said he exited a pickup truck with a gun in his hand when officers repeatedly ordered him to drop the firearm.

When he pointed the gun at officers, one officer discharged four shots at Asato, striking him at least once in the chest.

He was taken to Queen’s Medical Center in critical condition.

Police recovered the gun described as a Smith & Wesson caliber 9mm semi-automatic pistol.

Court documents indicated Asato’s wife filed a petition for a temporary restraining order against him on Feb. 11, a week before he showed up at her workplace. She has since filed for a divorce on March 27.

In the restraining order petition, Asato’s wife described how he poured a bucket of water on her and their children as they were sleeping one day in December 2017. She alleged he then threatened to kill her and pointed a firearm at her head.

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