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Mental exam ordered for man who prompted school lockdowns

  • HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald Brandon Keala Kealoha appears Wednesday in Hilo District Court.

A 40-year-old Hilo man accused of making a threat of gun violence Monday on the University of Hawaii at Hilo campus said he’s being “followed by satellites” and made other bizarre statements Wednesday during his initial court appearance.

Hilo District Judge Kanani Laubach ordered a mental examination for Brandon Keala Kealoha and increased his bail from $1,000 to $5,000.

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Kealoha, who police said is a UH-Hilo student, is charged with second-degree terroristic threatening, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.

“The allegation is in this case that defendant yelled aloud, ‘F—- the Americans! I’m gonna shoot everyone and show them what’s up!’” Deputy Prosecutor Elyssa Correia told the judge.

Correia added that the alleged threat caused UH-Hilo to issue a “shelter-in-place order” — which prompted nearby Waiakea High, Intermediate and Elementary school campuses to follow with lockdowns until police took Kealoha into custody. She noted Kealoha’s previous criminal history, which includes a felony terroristic threatening conviction, plus misdemeanor convictions for assault, domestic abuse and disorderly conduct, as well as DUI.

Correia said Kealoha’s alleged statement is “extremely alarming given the influx of shootings across the country.” She said a jail diversion program counselor told her that Kealoha suffers from “paranoid delusions” and “noted the severity of defendant’s temper,” and added Kealoha’s former probation officer “has concerns about whether defendant is taking his medication.”

“He was able to comply with probation when he was medicated but otherwise had issues,” Correia told the judge.

In addition, according to Correia, a family member of Kealoha’s “has serious concerns, not about the defendant harming himself, but harming others.”

Kealoha insisted on addressing the judge, against the advice of his attorney, Deputy Public Defender Austin Hsu, as well as Laubach, who told Kealoha anything he says “is being recorded and can and will be used against you in a court of law.”

Kealoha said he sometimes says things “out of irritation” but denied making a threat or saying “anything … about any shooting up anything — at all.”

He also said he wouldn’t take court-ordered prescribed medication, adding, “I’m a positive person helping people off medications, as well.”

“I’m being shocked, basically. People can read through minds. They understand I’m a good person, basically,” Kealoha said.

“… I did not do anything wrong. The world is listening to me right now.”

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Laubach also ordered Kealoha to stay away from the UH-Hilo campus and the complaining witness and scheduled a hearing on his mental exam for 1:30 p.m. Oct. 23.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.