Landowner recounts Hawi standoff

  • Lance Caspary looks over a coffee plant at the Kohala Crawfish Farm. (Cameron Miculka/West Hawaii Today)

  • Britney Wolf

HAWI — At the gate to the Kohala Crawfish Farm sits a sign reading, “‘a‘ole pilikia” — no problem.

And in the last several years owner Lance Caspary has been hosting tenants at the property, it’s been mostly just that.

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But the 20-acre property situated north of Hawi became the site of an hours-long standoff Monday after a woman allegedly shot a gun as the property owner was leaving the area that morning. The incident came days after the property owner told the woman, Britney Wolf, and a significant other to leave after a guest on the property alleged Wolf had assaulted her.

Wolf, who now faces an attempted murder charge, and Lucas Wolf were arrested Monday. Lucas Wolf was charged Wednesday morning with second-degree terroristic threatening, accomplice to first-degree terroristic threatening, accomplice to first-degree reckless endangering and firearms-related charges. His bail was set at $26,000. He remains in police custody, the department said, pending an initial court appearance at Kona District Court this morning.

In addition to attempted first-degree murder, Britney Wolf was charged Wednesday afternoon with fourth-degree criminal property damage, use of a firearm in the commission of a separate felony, two counts each of first-degree terroristic threatening and first-degree reckless endangering and three counts each of two other firearm-related charges.

Her bail has been set at $303,000. She remains in police custody pending an initial District Court appearance slated this morning.

Looking to help ‘handsome’ couple

Caspary, 56, has hosted long-term tenants at the property since the planned Hoea Agricultural Park “was killed by bureaucrats,” he said.

He has seven residences on the property and also hosts campers and short-term agricultural workers.

The Wolfs, Caspary said, first came to him about three or four months ago looking for a place to stay. Lucas Wolf, Caspary said, told him they had come to build somebody’s house, but something “went horribly wrong,” without providing details.

But Caspary told them he was full and couldn’t accommodate them. Instead, he tried to help the man and woman, whom he described as a “handsome, nice couple,” by setting Lucas Wolf up with a demolition job on the property, initiated by Caspary’s business partner who had recently died.

Caspary said Wolf finished that job competently and on time, but the landowner consistently told them he didn’t have a place on the property for them to homestead. He and the couple later made an agreement in which they would work four hours a week in exchange for staying there.

In the meantime, he said, the couple was camping out of a truck. They weren’t paying rent nor was there a rental agreement.

Throughout the vast majority of their stay, he said, the couple kept up a positive attitude.

“They were sweet,” he said. “And they were kind and they were loving.”

Bizarre encounter

The problems began Friday, when Caspary came home to two campers, who were “highly distraught.”

One camper, Caspary said, alleged that Britney Wolf assaulted her.

“And it was such a bizarre story that they told me,” he said, describing a story that referenced God, devils, witches and a “holy war.”

After he listened to the story and tried to calm down his guests, he went down to where the couple was staying.

When he got there, he said, he was startled to see a fence had been started across a perimeter road on the property, along with animal pens, a trailer and two more vehicles.

He didn’t see Britney Wolf there, he said, but Lucas Wolf emerged from the truck.

“And I was confronted with somebody I had never seen before,” Caspary said.

The man, Caspary said, appeared hostile and confrontational, with his fists at his sides and chin down. Caspary said he tried to ask what had happened.

“From the get-go, there was no conversation,” he said.

Lucas Wolf, Caspary said, then repeatedly questioned the man about if he had “embraced the lord,” before launching into a speech about being “holy warriors” and “witnesses for God” who were “down here fighting demons and witches.”

“And I’m like, well, I’m sorry but you can’t do that here,” Caspary said. “We don’t do that here. We don’t do Jihad. You need to take that on the road; you can’t do that here.”

After more attempts to turn the conversation to the alleged assault, Caspary said, he told Lucas Wolf that they had to leave.

“Just because there wasn’t going to be any conversation,” he said. “So I said, ‘OK, you’ve gotta go. It’s done. I can’t have you here.’”

He thought it was done, he said, adding there was no conversation after that and that he gave them a couple days to get their stuff together.

He said no police report had been filed about what he was told Friday, but that he spoke with police Saturday morning about the situation.

Shots and standoff ensue

Monday morning, he went to check if the Wolfs were still around.

“I was not even in a bad mood,” he said. “I kinda half-expected them to be there, but I was not surprised that they were.”

When Lucas Wolf exited the truck, Caspary said, he was “even more hostile” this time.

Caspary said he was hoping to have a conversation this time about what would come next, “but there was not going to be any conversation again.”

Instead, he said, Lucas Wolf repeatedly questioned the landowner about whether he is “an honest man.”

Figuring there wasn’t going to be any conversation, Caspary started moving back toward his vehicle thinking about what to do next when a door to the couple’s truck opened.

Britney Wolf, he said, then allegedly got out of the truck, handgun in hand, shouting obscenities and threats.

Later, after the roughly six-hour standoff ended, police said, they found a rifle, shotgun, handgun, spent ammunition casings and several rounds of unspent ammunition from the vehicle in which they say Britney Wolf was. Caspary said he didn’t know about the weapons they reportedly had.

But after Britney Wolf got out of the truck screaming, Caspary pulled out his phone, got in his truck and was backing up, which is when, he said, the woman fired the weapon.

He immediately dialed 911, he said.

“It was like, ‘You made my mind up for me,’” he said. “What option do I have now? I was willing to talk about it, but now there’s nothing to talk about.”

Caspary said he then returned home, where he stayed throughout the ensuing standoff.

There, he tended to his coffee and fielded phone calls from friends and his tenants who had to leave their homes while police worked to resolve the situation.

“You know, what else do you do? I don’t know,” he said, laughing.

Still stunned, but getting back to normal

At the scene, the Hawaii Police Department’s Special Response Team responded and crisis negotiators were eventually able to communicate with the woman in the car.

The woman allegedly fired two more gunshots during the incident, police said in a release.

At 5:11 p.m., police said, the woman surrendered and was arrested without further incident.

Lucas Wolf, police said, was located earlier on foot.

Days later, Caspary said he’s still feeling the adrenaline. The most alarming and disquieting thing, he said, is “how this sweet, beautiful young girl turned into this screaming profanity-filled ideologue spouting all this Christian psychosis,” comparing it to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Now, Caspary’s busy at work with the farm, turning a former crawfish pond into a musical venue and performance, practice and education space for musicians in the area.

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And he’s happy the standoff ended without any injuries to anyone, including Britney Wolf.

“I’m just so glad there was no blood. I was afraid she was going to get shot,” he said. “I didn’t want her to get hurt.”

  1. Buds4All January 25, 2018 6:46 am Reply

    ICE would be my first guess. They must be reading or listening to something? “We don’t do that here. We don’t do Jihad. You need to take that on the road; you can’t do that here.” We most certainly do not need that on the island!


  2. Kaipo Wall January 25, 2018 12:29 pm Reply

    Drugs….Lance is a good guy , handled things very well . Any ‘landlord’ takes chances if he lets anyone take up residence on their land without a back ground check or some form of vetting . They will tell you anything to get their foot in the door . Getting them to leave if it turns out to be not a good fit , is another thing altogether . Glad Lance wasn’t shot


    1. alex carter January 25, 2018 12:54 pm Reply

      This. These “survivalist” or “back to the land” compounds attract crazies like the ice cream truck attracts kids. You’ve got toe screen people very carefully, and be ready to weed out any nuts with zero remorse.


  3. antifaHI January 25, 2018 5:45 pm Reply

    Homeless folks drive around with so many guns. Stolen from some home, sold under the table? No wonder HPD doesn’t want more of these crazies armed and prevent permits.


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