Two police officers were shot dead and several homes were engulfed in fire after a man who was being evicted turned violent Sunday in the iconic Honolulu neighborhood of Waikiki.
The suspect, who had a troubled past that included clashes with neighbors, was unaccounted for and presumed dead. Two other women were also missing after the blaze spread to about a dozen houses, police said.
A dramatic Facebook live video shot by a local resident showed heavily armed officers swarming around several homes up in flames. Billowing smoke could be seen for miles.
“I was walking my dogs and now we’re under siege. This has never happened before here,” the woman said on video. “It’s pretty sad. Pray for us, please. Pray for us.”
Police said that the suspect was in the process of being evicted and stabbed his landlady in the leg. Cops who responded to the assault were then shot.
Honolulu police identified the slain officers as Tiffany-Victoria Enriquez, a mother of three who is married to a cop, and Kekaulike Kalama, a nine-year veteran.
Police believe the suspect, identified as Jerry Hanel, 69, set the blaze after shooting the officers. The flames spread from one house to others and several cars were also in flames.
Hanel’s attorney, Jonathan Burge, told reporters that Hanel suffered from mental illness and believed the authorities were tracking him. Numerous neighbors had taken out restraining orders against Hanel.
“I’ve never known him to be violent,” Burge said, according to the Associated Press. “He’s kind of a quirky guy and had problems.”
In a tweet, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell expressed his condolences to the families of the officers.
“This is an unprecedented tragedy for not only the City and County of Honolulu but the entire state of Hawai’i,” he said.
City Council member Kymberly Marcos Pine said in a statement, “My prayers and thoughts are with the families of the Honolulu Police Department officers who were killed and all who were injured during the Diamond Head incident today—my heart aches for all who are involved.”