Mountain View man pleads guilty to threatening police with pellet gun


A 55-year-old Mountain View man who was arrested last year after pointing a pellet gun at two police officers pleaded guilty Thursday to first-degree terroristic threatening.

In exchange for his plea, prosecutors dropped a second first-degree terroristic charge against Jonathan Paul Rodrigues Sr. Under terms of the deal, Rodrigues is expected to be sentenced by Hilo Circuit Judge Glenn Hara to four years probation, with 30 days in jail — with all but time already served taken under advisement — at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 25.

Rodrigues told the judge he didn’t intentionally point the air rifle at the officers.

“I had a fight with my son that (previous) night and I took too much of my antidepressants,” he said. “I guess when I got up early in the morning, I wasn’t thinking straight, and my leg was bad, really bad, I couldn’t walk, so I grabbed my pellet gun and I walked outside.”

“When you say a pellet gun, this was a gun that … looks like a real firearm?” Hara inquired.

“Yes,” Rodrigues replied.

Deputy Prosecutor Joseph Lee told the judge that if the case went to trial, the state would prove that Rodrigues terrorized Officer Paul Mangus “with disregard … specifically with the pointing of the gun, which the officer believed to be real. And the officer did fear that … his life was in physical danger, based on the conduct.”

Police responded to Rodrigues’ Keola Place home Sept. 2 after receiving a report at about 8:30 p.m. about an affray which involved a machete. When officers arrived, Rodrigues’ 25-year-old son, Jonathan Rodrigues Jr., reportedly ran into the forest. After emerging at around 11 p.m., he was taken to Hilo Medical Center where he was treated for what police called “substantial bodily injuries” and later released. After his release from the hospital, police arrested him on two unrelated bench warrants for contempt of court.

The pellet gun incident occurred at about 7:09 a.m. the following morning, and Rodrigues Sr. was taken into custody at about 7:20 a.m., police said.

The younger Rodrigues appeared Sept. 3 in Hilo District Court to face the contempt charges with his head, neck, left upper arm and right wrist swathed in bandages. He confirmed afterwards that his injuries were caused by a machete. Asked at that time what happened, he replied: “I totally forget. I don’t know. I was all drunk.”

A woman, who identified herself as the daughter of Rodrigues Sr. and sister of Rodrigues Jr., was in the courtroom gallery that afternoon and left the courthouse with Rodrigues Jr. She said she was injured by the machete while trying to intervene in the dispute and required stitches to her wrist. The woman, who didn’t give her name, was wearing a bandage and brace on the injured wrist.

Rodrigues Sr. qualifies for, and has requested, a deferral of his guilty plea. If the deferral is granted by Hara, his conviction for felony terroristic threatening will be erased from the record upon satisfactory completion of probation. Both Hara and Lee noted that the state reserves the right to argue against the deferral at sentencing.

“The court has agreed to follow the plea agreement … to the extent of probation and that there not be any jail time served beyond credit,” Hara said.

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