Man facing eviction fatally shoots 2 Honolulu police officers before blaze destroys 7 homes in Diamond Head neighborhood

Hawaii News Now

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) – In a shocking series of events Sunday, a 69-year-old man facing eviction is accused of fatally shooting two Honolulu police officers who were responding to the scene of a stabbing and then apparently setting a raging fire that destroyed seven homes in Diamond Head.

In a news conference Sunday afternoon, a visibly shaken Police Chief Ballard identified those killed as:

  • Officers Tiffany Enriquez, a seven-year veteran of the force;
  • and Kaulike Kalama, a nine-year veteran of the force.

As Ballard spoke to reporters, her voice shook with emotion as she fought back tears.

“On behalf of the men and women of the Honolulu Police Department, our deepest condolences go out to the families,” she said. “The HPD ohana grieve along with you.”

She added that she knew the officers very well.

“They were like my kids. They were with me for five years at receiving desk when I was major there,” she said. “So when they first came into the department up until I made chief, I knew them personally.”

The rampage rocked a state unaccustomed to violence and left many in disbelief.

“This is a family and people are grieving,” Mayor Kirk Caldwell told reporters.

Ballard identified the suspect as Jerry Hanel, and authorities believe he died when the home he was in went up in flames.

His remains have not yet been located, but Ballard said processing the scene could take days.

Court documents show Hanel has a history of erratic behavior and making false 911 reports. His attorney said he had delusions that he was being tracked by the FBI.

Ballard said he had no permits to own firearms.

Meanwhile, two people ― both women ― remain unaccounted for in the wake of the day’s events. Their identities have not been released.

‘A tragic unfolding of events’

The chaos at the gateway to Hawaii’s no. 1 tourist destination all began about 9 a.m. when first responders were called to a home on Hibiscus Drive for a report of a stabbing.

Sources said the suspect’s landlord had been trying to evict him. She’d delivered eviction papers to him on Friday, but he refused to sign them.

The person who was injured in the stabbing sustained a wound to the leg and was taken to a hospital in serious condition. It wasn’t immediately clear how the stabbing victim knew the suspect.

When officers arrived on scene, Hanel opened fire on them in his driveway, Ballard said.

Witnesses saw injured officers being dragged into the street. One bystander said rescuers could be seen performing CPR on an officer in the immediate aftermath of the shooting.

Bystanders also told HNN that they believed at least one other person on the property was stabbed. Authorities did not immediately have information on the two stabbing victims.

After ambushing the officers with gunfire, the suspect wasn’t done yet.

He’s accused of setting fire to the home he was in. Those flames spread quickly to several nearby properties as firefighters struggled to gain access to the site amid the active police investigation.

In addition to the seven homes that were destroyed ― reduced to all but rubble ― several more sustained significant damage.

The American Red Cross is helping the affected families and an emergency shelter for the victims has been opened at Waikiki Elementary. As of Sunday night, nine people were using the shelter.

“It was just a tragic unfolding of events,” said resident Eric Crispin, who watched first responders rush to the scene from the rooftop of a nearby condominium.

He said as at least 20 police cars responded to the scene, he started to see smoke pouring from a home and called 911.

Within minutes, he said, “the fire just raged and spread.”

Earlier in the day, Caldwell called the shooting an “unprecedented tragedy” for Honolulu.

“I would like to express my deepest condolences to the family and friends of the two officers as well as the entire Honolulu Police Department,” he said.

A police presence remains at the scene, where scores of firefighters were monitoring hotspots throughout the day.

When the fires were at their height, flames and thick smoke could be seen for miles.

Even before firefighters arrived, residents were spraying down their roofs hoping the flames would not spread to their homes.

One resident actually climbed onto his roof so he could spray his home with a garden hose.

Residents say the crime scene was even more chaotic.

“The first police car came and subsequently the other police cars arrived and then, this street just became a thoroughfare,” resident Brant Kelsey said.

‘Not sure why this happened’

The two officers fatally shot at the home were initially taken in extremely critical condition to the Queen’s Medical Center.

Dozens of police officers, along with the police chief, were seen arriving at the hospital as the patients were transported from the Diamond Head scene.

The officers who arrived at the hospital were visibly shaken.

Several were crying, and Ballard could be seen hugging those arriving at the emergency room.

Pastor Wayne Surface, of Ohana Baptist Church, said the family of one of the officers killed is a member of his congregation who he’s known them for many years.

“They’re hurt. They’re not sure why this happened. They’re looking to the lord to provide comfort at this time,” he said.

He describes one of the officers who was killed as a “good man.”

“The family has a record of serving the community,” he said.

Witnesses tell HNN that the fires started just moments after gunshots rang out.

In addition to the homes that were damaged, several HPD vehicles were also damaged in the flames.

Bystander Ian Felix said he was in the area when he saw the woman who was stabbed and rushed to her aid. “She was screaming, she was like get me out of here,” Felix said.

“She was really scared of what happened to her because of that person. The escalation went from a stab wound to a fire and then the two officers. It’s really sad.”

One thought on “Man facing eviction fatally shoots 2 Honolulu police officers before blaze destroys 7 homes in Diamond Head neighborhood

  1. These kind of cases are always tragic, especially because there is no need for them to ever occur. The greed of a few forces millions of others into poverty, despair, and eventually desperation. The money stolen hand over fist and the money wasted on the Military Industrial Complex is more than enough to allow all American Nationals to live like Saudi princes. Religious theologies aside, humans are like any other animal, when they are cornered with nothing left to lose, they lash out. It sickens me how in this country, you truly own nothing, you merely rent from the enemy force in occupation. That is what happens when your country in invaded and turned into an illegal corporation.

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