Gang leader gets 20 years


POSTED: Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A teenager who Honolulu police say is the leader of a gang whose members are responsible for two freeway shootings, an armed home-invasion robbery and other crimes has agreed to a 20-year prison term in a plea agreement with prosecutors.

Shaw Awber, 18, pleaded guilty in state court yesterday to three counts of attempted first-degree assault for firing a gun at a pickup truck full of teenage girls on the H-1 freeway on June 29 last year. Ten rounds hit the truck. No one was injured.

The state dropped a first-degree attempted murder charge and allowed Awber to plead guilty to attempted assault rather than second-degree attempted murder.

Awber also pleaded guilty to three counts of second-degree assault and first-degree criminal property damage for hitting a man in the head with a baseball bat May 1 last year at Kalakaua District Park in Kapalama and for using a baseball bat to attack two other males who were sleeping in a car near the park on Dec. 3, 2007.

Police said Awber hit one of the males from the car later in the day with a golf club and then stabbed him in the stomach with the shaft after the club head broke off.

Awber was 17 years old when he committed the crimes. However, a state Family Court judge waived jurisdiction, allowing the state to prosecute him as an adult.


Police said two members of Awber's gang are Joshua Gonda and Nicholas Nichols.

A federal judge sentenced Gonda, 19, in February to one year and a day in prison for selling methamphetamine near Kalihi Uka Elementary School in June and July 2007.

He is also awaiting trial in state court for allegedly firing six shots from a revolver at the car of a rival gang member July 9 last year while on pretrial release for the federal drug case. One shot hit a 16-year-old boy in the chest, paralyzing him from the waist down.

Police said Nichols, 19, was the driver in the two freeway shootings.

He is awaiting sentencing in state court after pleading guilty to first-degree assault, kidnapping, first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary and firearm crimes for a home-invasion robbery in Aliamanu on Aug. 11 last year. Nichols shot a 20-year-old man during the robbery, paralyzing him from the waist down.

He was charged with attempted second-degree murder, but the state reduced the charge to assault in a plea agreement.

Nichols also pleaded guilty to first-degree and second-degree assault for throwing a broken beer bottle in the face of the May 1 assault victim, permanently disfiguring him, and hitting him in the head and body with a baseball bat.