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Buarapha arrested in Wisconsin

WORTHINGTON -- A Worthington man who didn't bother to show up for his jury trial in October was arrested in early December in Wisconsin and is now sitting in the Nobles County Jail.

Phoui Buarapha, 22, appeared before Judge Timothy Connell Tuesday for a bail hearing, but Connell opted not to set a bail amount at this time.

"A defendant is entitled to bail under the constitution," the judge said. "But if a defendant chooses to ignore the conditions of release, which is certainly the case here ... he will be held without bail pending further proceedings."

Buarapha was arrested in Shelby, Wis. On Dec. 4, after allegedly threatening a person at a bowling alley and mentioning he had a gun in his car. He was charged with disorderly conduct, carrying a concealed weapon and obstructing an officer.

He waived extradition and was sent back to Worthington, where Nobles County Attorney Gordon Moore and Judge Connell are hoping they can get Buarapha's trial back on the court calendar soon.

In Worthington, Buarapha is facing charges of second-degree assault, drive by shooting, second-degree riot-armed with a dangerous weapon, and two counts of discharging a firearm. The warrant for his arrest also included charges of fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle, giving a false name to a peace officer, two counts of driving while impaired and a driving after revocation charge. Those charges stem from another case.

The shooting incident occurred in June 2007, when the Worthington Police Department received information about a juvenile male who had been shot in the abdomen. As witnesses were questioned, authorities learned a group of men had gone to the trailer park in Worthington to talk to someone about a broken windshield. At the trailer, there was a group of people. Words were exchanged, then someone from the visiting group threw a glass container at the trailer group. When someone in the trailer came out and started shooting, Buarapha allegedly grabbed a gun from a car and began to shoot back.

Several people were arrested and charged in conjunction with the incident, but Buarapha, who had made bail, did not show up for his pre-trial conference or trial in October. His conditions of release had included staying in contact with his attorney, keeping the court informed of his address and not leaving the state.

In Shelby, authorities looking for a white Acura located a vehicle in which Buarapha was the passenger. He gave them a false name, but later admitted who he was. After following the route the vehicle had taken, an officer found a black handgun lying in the snow that correlated with the direction the car would have been traveling.