Documents: Neighbor wanted suspect in police deaths evicted

  • Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard speaks at a news conference after announcing the death of two police officers responding to a call near Diamond Head, Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

HONOLULU — A neighbor of a man suspected of stabbing a woman and killing two Hawaii police officers had long wanted him evicted but said the landlord wasn’t helpful, according to court documents.

Jaroslav “Jerry” Hanel stabbed a woman in the leg Sunday before he fired on police, killing two officers on Sunday morning, police said.

After the shooting a fire erupted at Hanel’s residence in the Waikiki Beach area of Honolulu and spread to neighboring homes.

“It was pretty clear he was out of control,” said attorney David Hayakawa, who represented three neighbors in obtaining restraining orders against Hanel.

Warren Daniel and Jerry Hanel, who lived next door to each other, were among those who battled in court.

Daniel, who had a restraining order against Hanel, accused him of frequent intoxication, obscene comments, blowing smoke into his home and assault. Daniel said that during a 2014 argument about plants Hanel believed were encroaching on his property, Hanel grabbed Daniel’s shirt and pushed him into a tree, according to court documents.

A jury found Hanel not guilty of assault.

Police have said Hanel is missing and they’re almost certain he is inside the burned-out house. Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard had said it could take days to recover any remains.

Two women are also missing. Hanel’s lawyer, Jonathan Burge, said the sister of the property’s owner, Lois Cain, told him that Cain was unaccounted for.

Media reports say one of the two women originally believed to be missing was found alive. Police did not respond to multiple requests from The Associated Press to confirm the information or to comment on the landlord’s status.

The chaos in the neighborhood unfolded Sunday morning, when two neighbors said they heard piercing screams from the home and saw Hanel beating another tenant of the residence with a three-pronged garden hoe, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

Elklen Farmer Freeman and her husband Russell Freeman went next door and asked Hanel to stop beating the woman. He responded by throwing the tool down but punched the woman until another neighbor, Jennifer Tema, intervened and the injured woman got away.

The tenant told her neighbors that Cain was inside Hanel’s apartment and in danger, said Tema, who went to Hanel’s apartment and did not see Cain and Hanel but “heard him beating, bludgeoning someone.”

Police arrived a short time later and Ellen Freeman said her husband saw one officer “go flying back” because of the impact of being shot.

According to documents in the assault case, Cain wasn’t responsive about Daniel’s concerns.

Cain only last week sought to evict Hanel, according to court records and his lawyer.

Neighbors had long complained that Hanel chased cars down the street, confronted their guests and workers who came to their homes, recorded them with the camera on his hat and sent smoke from his barbecue grill directly into their windows, said Hayakawa.

Hanel also hid in bushes to watch people and yelled at tourists who had gotten lost in the neighborhood.

“He was kind of, in his own mind, block security,” Hayakawa said. When a woman who lived in the area walked her dog or jogged past Hanel’s home, “he focused on her and would take her picture,” Hayakawa said. The homes of two of his clients were gutted in the fire.

Hanel’s lawyer, Burge, represented his client since 2015 in the disputes with neighbors and three obtained temporary restraining orders. Hanel, a native of the Czech Republic who used Czech interpreters in court, faced an upcoming hearing on a charge of misusing 911 services, Burge said.

Burge said he never knew Hanel to be violent, but that Hanel thought the government was watching him and tapping his phone.

Cain was supportive of Hanel in his disputes with neighbors, Burge said. But she wanted him out so she could move into the home.

Burge said their relationship also soured because Hanel’s dog had died and Cain wouldn’t let him get a new one.

In the complaint for Hanel’s eviction, Cain said Hanel did not have a rental agreement and refused to leave despite repeated demands.

Hanel didn’t seem have any family, Burge said.

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Associated Press freelance photographer Marco Garcia contributed to this report.

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