KAILUA-KONA — A man who allegedly threatened to kill his ex-wife and blow up his Ahulani Street residence triggered a nearly six-hour standoff between the suspect and police on Thursday in North Kona.
The incident unfolded shortly before 9 a.m. when Hawaii Police Department officers responded to what was initially described as a “situation” at a home off in the Kona Coast View subdivision below Mamalahoa Highway.
Officers were sent there to contact Richard D. Gorloff, a 57-year-old Kailua-Kona man who police say had threatened his ex-wife, Kelly Gorloff, earlier in the morning.
When officers encountered Gorloff, police said, he refused to exit the residence and told officers that if they came any closer, he would blow up the residence.
The department stated that officers also observed Gorloff with a small propane tank and a 5-gallon gas can that was open and filled with an unknown liquid. He also appeared to be carrying a propane torch that was unlit, and a flint striker that would be used to light the torch. The smell of propane was present in the air.
Neighboring homes were immediately evacuated and the department’s Special Response Team was deployed to the scene between Kiekie and Hookumu streets. The team arrived about an hour later at the tan-colored home.
Little action occurred over the next several hours until SRT officers were heard yelling the man’s name and commanding him to “put down the gas can” and exit the home with his hands up.
About 10 minutes later, shortly before 3 p.m., Gorloff came out of the home and was taken into custody.
The home was then cleared by the Hawaii Fire Department and residents that were forced from their homes earlier in the day were allowed to return to the area and all roads were reopened. No injuries were reported.
Neighbors, whom declined to be identified publicly, told West Hawaii Today amid the standoff that they were not surprised by what was taking place in their neighborhood.
They said Gorloff has been a “problem for a very long time.” They also noted police have been to the home multiple times and that yelling and screaming is always heard coming from the house. One neighbor reported hearing screaming from the home Thursday morning before police arrived.
“He was bat—— crazy and used to shoot guns off all the time,” said another neighbor.
The neighbors also indicated his son, Tyler Gorloff, has been missing for months.
The Hawaii Police Department in late April issued a press release that the department was searching for the 30-year-old Pahoa man, who had last been seen three weeks before in the Pahoa area.
When asked about any relation to Thursday’s incident, the Hawaii Police Department said the investigation was ongoing.
According to court records, Gorloff at the time of Thursday’s incident was free on $20,000 bail in connection with a reckless endangering case that occurred back in July. He was set to appear in court Oct. 17 for Judge Robert D.S. Kim to rule on his fitness and capacity to proceed with trial.
He is facing charges of first-degree reckless endangering; first-degree criminal property damage; two counts ownership of a firearm and/or ammunition when prohibited because of a protective or restraining order; two counts failure to register a firearm and five counts violating a protective order in the case, which indicates the alleged offenses occurred July 3-5.
Gorloff, according to the complaint, intentionally fired a firearm recklessly placing a minor in danger of death of serious bodily injury and damaged a pickup truck and/or window “by means other than fire” on July 3.
A check with the Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center turned up just one conviction for Gorloff. In 2014, Gorloff was sentenced to 30 days in jail and to pay a $100 fine for harassment, a petty misdemeanor.
Gorloff also holds an electrician and plumbers license that’s valid through June 2020 and a contractors license through September 2020, according to the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.
The licenses list Gorloff as the “responsible managing employee” of All Phase Electrical Installations Inc. The business address matches the address of Thursday’s incident.