Gunshots fired at windows bearing Cayetano campaign signs

Published: Mar. 17, 2012 at 10:23 PM HST|Updated: Mar. 18, 2012 at 1:40 AM HST
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Walter Heen
Walter Heen

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The race for Honolulu mayor seems to have taken a violent turn. Multiple gunshots were fired at former Gov. Ben Cayetano's campaign signs that were posted at a Honolulu business.

Cycle City put up the political signs about a month-and-a-half ago. On Saturday, workers removed them citing safety concerns.

Cayetano's opponents in the mayoral race call the shootings "despicable."

It's that recognizable spider web pattern that's left when a projectile impacts glass. At Cycle City, there are eight of them on the upper-level windows.

"To think that somebody would be that negligent, you know, take a shot at a window when people are working. It's kind of crazy," Dan Ryan, Cycle City general manager, said.

The business put up several signs supporting former Gov. Ben Cayetano's mayoral bid. One large banner could easily be seen by motorists on the H1 Freeway's airport viaduct.

Campaign officials believe the signs were the target, and call the acts an assault on the store's freedom of speech.

"We've had some dirty tricks in the past, but nothing like this, nothing like this," Walter Heen, campaign co-chair, said. "This kind of activity has no place in Hawaii politics."

Store officials say one bullet hole was discovered Thursday, and the other seven were located when workers started taking down the signs Saturday. It appears they were made by small- and large-caliber firearms.

"I went up there and looked at the hole that was in the glass down the aisle way here and go, wow, that's a significant bullet hole," Ryan said.

Police were called to the scene to investigate.

Cayetano's political opponents say they're disgusted by the shootings.

"This is unquestionably criminal behavior, plain and simple," Peter Carlisle, Honolulu mayor, said. "It should be prosecuted as a criminal offense. It should be investigated appropriately. Anybody who has any knowledge of what happened should come forward."

"I find these types of actions to be despicable," Kirk Caldwell, mayoral candidate, said. "They shouldn't be tolerated at all. I'm running for mayor because I want to engage in dialogue. These types of actions are just the worst part of politics."

Ryan, who joined Cycle City last June, disclosed that the building has been shot at before, but he didn't know the motive.

"I had two other bullet holes that I had glass replaced when I first got here," Ryan said.

Previously, Cayetano banners that were posted in Honokai Hale and Makakilo turned up missing. Now with this, is the mayoral hopeful concerned for his safety?

"He's not afraid, let me put it that way, never has been," Heen replied.

The Cayetano campaign is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to those responsible. If you can help with the investigation, call police.

Copyright 2012 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.