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aclu attorney utah charged in 3rd district court
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ACLU attorney charged after firing shots at car with ex-wife, kids inside

The 3rd District Court is pictured in West Jordan on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. Photo: Yukai Peng, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — A brand-new attorney hired by the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah (ACLU) was charged Tuesday on accusations of shooting at a car his ex-wife was driving with his children inside.

Aaron Kinikini was arrested Friday — just one day after the ACLU announced it had hired him as an attorney. 

Former ACLU attorney charged with domestic violence

Kinikini was charged in 3rd District Court with three counts of domestic violence in the presence of children and two counts of discharge of a firearm and aggravated kidnapping.

ACLU issued a short response Tuesday, simply stating: “Aaron Kinikini is no longer employed by the ACLU of Utah.”

The charges come four days after Salt Lake City Police responded to a domestic violence call outside Kinikini’s home. According to charging documents, Kinikini’s ex-wife arrived at his home Friday to pick up his three children. 

However, Kinikini did not want his ex-wife to take them, the charges state. Shortly after, a nearby officer reported he heard shots fired.

A tense scene

As the ex-wife attempted to drive away, the charges allege Kinikini blocked the driveway prohibiting her from leaving. According to documents, his ex-wife was able to back up just enough to turn her car around and drive away. 

“She stated that (Kinikini) then pulled a gun out of a holster under his shirt and pointed it at the car and fired a round into the front tire,” the charges state. “She kept driving and he fired another round into the back tire.” 

The ex-wife reportedly kept trying to drive away, but her tires were flat — forcing her to pull over. 

After police arrived on-scene, they say he admitted to blocking the car for roughly five minutes when he  “pretended to be hurt by saying that she ran over his foot,” according to the charges. He also admitted to officers he “knew it was a mistake.”