Hilo man being held without bail in police confrontation


A 39-year-old Hilo man accused of attempted first-degree murder will be held in Hawaii Community Correctional Center without bail for now.

Hilo District Judge Kanani Laubach today granted a written motion filed by Deputy Prosecutor Elyssa Correia-Keltner to detain Larry Kalei Kamalii Jr. without bail over the objection of Deputy Public Defender Arthur Indiola, who requested that Kamalii be freed on court-supervised release without monetary bail.


Kamalii is charged with attempted first-degree murder, four counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm or ammunition, first-degree terroristic threatening, carrying or use of a firearm in the commission of a separate felony, illegally carrying a loaded firearm, carrying or possessing a loaded firearm on a public roadway, and first-degree attempted assault of a law enforcement officer.

Bail on those charges had been set at $705,000. Kamalii, who is incarcerated at Hawaii Community Correctional Center, refused to participate in today’s initial appearance hearing via Zoom from the Hilo jailhouse.

Indiola, who was filling in for Kamalii’s court-appointed attorney, Ivan Van Leer, entered not guilty pleas for all charges.

Laubach scheduled a preliminary hearing for 2:30 p.m. Tuesday and will allow Van Leer to argue for bail at that time.

According to court documents, Kamalii, who has six prior felony convictions and was on probation for carrying a loaded firearm on a public roadway and illegally carrying a firearm, attempted to kill Officer Steven Grace with a sawed-off 20 gauge shotgun.

If convicted of attempted first-degree murder, Kamalii would face a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

Police say Kamalii was driving a vehicle obstructing the roadway at about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday on Kea Road (Road B) in Hawaiian Acres.

Officers attempted to apprehend Kamalii, who had multiple outstanding warrants for his arrest, police said.

Officers identified themselves, police said, informed Kamalii that he was under arrest, and opened the door to arrest him.

According to police, Kamalii immediately resisted and grabbed the modified shotgun from the vehicle’s console.

Police say Kamalii then pointed the firearm toward officers with his finger within the trigger well, placing the officers in immediate risk of death or serious bodily injury.

After a brief struggle, officers were able to breach the firearm — which had a chambered round, according to court documents — preventing Kamalii from firing it. This allowed officers to gain control of the weapon and place Kamalii under arrest, police said.


Officers executed a search warrant on the vehicle Kamalii was driving and recovered more than 100 rounds of ammunition for the shotgun Kamalii had in his possession.

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

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