Bail reduction denied for Puna man who allegedly shot cop

  • MICHAEL BRESTOVANSKY/Tribune-Herald

    Albert Huihui Puu appears with his attorney, Deputy Public Defender Austin Hsu, on Monday in Hilo District Court.

A Pahoa man who allegedly shot a police officer last week appeared in court Monday on a charge of attempted first-degree murder.

Albert Puu, 65, made his initial appearance in Hilo Circuit Court after allegedly being involved in an armed standoff that resulted in the shooting of Puna police officer Roger Carvalho on Feb. 21.

ADVERTISING


Puu faces a Class A felony charge of first-degree attempted murder and lesser charges, including the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, first-degree reckless endangerment, possessing a firearm without a permit or registration, possessing a prohibited pistol magazine, and harassment.

According to police documents, Puna patrol officers responded to a reported assault at Puu’s Pahoa residence on Oio Street in the Hawaiian Beaches subdivision. When officers arrived, they found an irascible and intoxicated Puu, who refused to comply with instructions.

After Puu refused several requests from an officer to come to the roadside to speak regarding the reported assault, two officers approached Puu, who said, “I got something for you guys,” according to police documents.

Puu then turned away, and one officer reported hearing the “racking” of a firearm. Puu then allegedly pointed a handgun at the two officers and fired once, striking Carvalho in the left thigh.

Carvalho, an officer of two years, was taken to Hilo Medical Center and was in stable condition at last report.

Puu allegedly fled deeper onto his property. After executing a search warrant, the Hawaii Police Department’s Special Response Team found Puu on Thursday morning in a shed with a Glock 21 .45 caliber handgun close at hand. Puu was then arrested without further incident.

The reported assault that incited the affair was an altercation with his neighbor that shortly preceded the standoff, according to police reports.

Puu’s neighbor requested that Puu lower the volume of his music and stop shouting profanities at her. Hearing this, Puu reportedly reached over the fence that separates their two properties, seized the neighbor’s phone from her hand, threw it to the ground and said, “I’m going to beat the (expletive) out of you.” The neighbor called police immediately afterward. Puu’s harassment charge stems from this incident.

“The man is dangerous to society and he should spend the rest of his life in jail,” the neighbor told the Tribune-Herald on condition of anonymity.

Puu appeared in court with several members of his family in attendance. Although Puu spoke very little during Monday’s hearing, he exchanged waves with his family members.

Puu’s attorney, Austin Hsu, motioned to reduce Puu’s bail on all charges — the bail for the attempted murder charge would drop from $515,500 to $250,000 — citing Puu’s lack of previous felony convictions and the fact that he has never been charged with contempt of court.

However, Judge Harry Freitas denied Hsu’s request, noting the severity of Puu’s charges.

ADVERTISING


Hsu also requested to recuse himself from the case, citing a conflict of interest. Freitas agreed to that request. Puu will be represented by a different attorney at his preliminary hearing Wednesday.

Email Michael Brestovansky at mbrestovansky@hawaiitribune-herald.com