By JOHN BURNETT
Tribune-Herald staff writer
A man accused of assaulting two Hilo police officers who tried to arrest him Friday has been charged with multiple offenses.
Vadim Tarasovich Ignatov, 46, of Hilo, faces two counts of first-degree assault of a police officer, plus second- and third-degree property damage and resisting arrest.
A preliminary hearing was set for Wednesday, but according to court documents, the prosecution was not ready to proceed and the hearing was rescheduled for March 5 at 2 p.m. Hilo District Court Judge Harry Freitas granted Ignatov, who had been in custody unable to make $5,500 bail, supervised release over the state’s objections.
According to court documents filed by police, officers responded to a dispute between neighbors on Kaapuni Loop in Kaumana shortly after 8 p.m., and Konrad Kaipo told police that Ignatov, who lives around the corner on Hokulani Street, had thrown or shot rocks at Kaipo’s pickup truck, causing a dent to the passenger side door.
When police attempted to contact Ignatov, he came out of his house naked, according to documents. One officer shouted “Police!” Ignatov then allegedly shot at officers with a slingshot from a distance of about six or seven feet, and when police took cover behind a plastic tool shed, “Ignatov continued to fire approximately eight more objects, belived to be rocks,” documents state. A yellow slingshot was reportedly found at the scene.
When officers attempted to arrest Ignatov and ordered him to lie on the ground, the suspect ran and tried to hide under his house, documents state. One of the officers grabbed Ignatov by the leg and he “began to kick … and continued to attempt to get away,” documents state.
Ignatov was subdued and arrested. Documents identified the officers who were allegedly assaulted as Hilo Patrol Officers Mark Arnold and Wayne Kenison. Neither officer was seriously hurt, according to Maj. Sam Thomas of the Hawaii Police Administrative Services Section.
“Obviously, he (Ignatov) is a troubled individual,” Thomas said. “I mean, somebody who shoots rocks at other people’s personal property with slingshots and attempts to shoot rocks at officers with a slingshot is troubled.”
This is not the first time Ignatov has had an allegedly violent dispute with a neighbor. According to a June 9, 2010, article in The Oregonian, Ignatov, an immigrant from the former Soviet Union, pleaded guilty to second-degree intimidation for subjecting then-neighbor Suzanne Hachem to threats on June, 19, 2009, because of her religion.
Hachem, a Lebanese-American who lived with her husband and three children in the Northwest District of Portland, told police that “Ignatov shouted expletives, referred to her family as Arabs and Muslims, and told her to ‘Go home!’” the newspaper reported. The Hachems also told police that Ignatov fired bullets toward their home three times in the summer of 2009. An Oregon prosecutor said that investigators found a bullet lodged in the Hachems’ home and that shell casings were traced to one of Ignatov’s guns.
“Could have shot any one of us,” Suzanne Hachem’s husband, Fadi Hachem, reportedly wrote in a petition for a restraining order against Ignatov. “One bullet landed five feet away from my mom.”
Ignatov, who denied shooting at the house, was sentenced to two years probation and six months in jail, which he had already served. In exchange for his guilty plea, unlawful use of a weapon and reckless endangering charges were dismissed. If convicted of shooting at the home, Ignatov would have been sentenced to a minimum five-year prison term.
The prosecutor told the newspaper that prosecuting Ignatov was difficult because the Hachems had left the U.S.
First-degree assault of a police officer and second-degree property damage are Class C felonies punishable by up to five years in prison. Resisting arrest and third-degree property damage are misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in jail.