Feds press gun charges
in Hawaii shooting case
The suspect allegedly fired an
illegal firearm at an off-duty officer
A 21-year-old man, arrested Friday for allegedly firing a sawed-off shotgun at an off-duty police officer, was charged yesterday with a federal firearm offense.
John Carlyon Jr. was charged by federal criminal complaint with possession of an unregistered, prohibited firearm, which carries a 10-year maximum sentence.
"We did not have enough evidence to support an attempted-murder charge," said Jim Fulton, executive assistant to the city prosecutor. If the prosecutor had gone forward with the case, Carlyon would have been charged with a lesser offense, he said.
Fulton would not discuss the evidence.
"A prohibited firearms charge under federal statute would allow for potentially longer sentence," Fulton said.
According to the complaint, Carlyon possessed an unregistered Sears model 21-20, pump-action, 20-gauge, short-barreled shotgun with no serial number, a violation of federal law.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Marshall Silverberg, who is handling the case, said possessing illegal weapons such as a sawed-off shotgun falls under Attorney General John Ashcroft's "Project Safe Neighborhood" initiative to crack down on federal firearm offenses.
Federal public defender Michael Weight, who represented Carlyon at his initial court appearance yesterday, said "it seemed curious" federal prosecutors are pursuing what appeared to be a state case.
"Ashcroft is hellbent on prosecuting anyone who even thinks about guns," Weight said.
Carlyon is being held without bail until a detention hearing Thursday.
Police are still looking for a second suspect, referred to as "Uncle," who may have given the shotgun to Carlyon.
According to the complaint filed by Special Agent Jordan Lowe, of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Carlyon got into a confrontation with a customer at the T-Spot Hideaway Cigar & Lounge at 590 Farrington Highway in Kapolei on Friday and was asked to leave by management.
Before he left, he yelled, "I'll be back," the complaint said.
He returned an hour later in a silver Honda with "Uncle" and an unidentified woman in a silver Honda, according to the complaint. Carlyon got into a fight with a bar employee and two off-duty police officers, assaulting one of the officers.
Police said Carlyon started the fight because he mistakenly thought the officer was the man he had fought earlier that night.
"Uncle" then went to the Honda, got the shotgun and pointed it at the other officer, the complaint said.
"Carlyon took the short-barreled shotgun from the 'uncle' and then discharged the shotgun three times at the off-duty HPD officer and into the business establishment," Lowe's affidavit said.