Hawaii residents return to homes at site of shooting, fire

  • A Hawaii police officer stands in the neighborhood where fire destroyed several homes after a shooting in Honolulu over the weekend, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. Hawaii has some of the nation’s strictest gun laws, but the killing of two Honolulu police officers by a man believed to have psychiatric issues has given new urgency to efforts to close gun control loopholes and bolster mental health treatment. (Cindy Ellen Russell/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP)

HONOLULU — Residents have been allowed to return to their homes following a suspected landlord-tenant dispute where two police officers were fatally shot and two others died. A fire that followed Sunday’s violence destroyed seven homes.

The neighborhood is where police said Jaroslav “Jerry” Hanel, 69, shot the officers and killed landlord Lois Cain. Police say he also attacked another woman before a fire started Sunday in which he is believed to have perished, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Wednesday.

Cain had filed papers against Hanel last week seeking to evict him from the home where he lived for free in exchange for his work as a handyman, according to court records and his lawyer.

Several neighbors have said they had difficult relationships with Hanel and some had taken out restraining orders against him.

The crime scene and fire displaced multiple residents and left others without electricity, authorities said.

A crew from Hawaiian Electric was allowed to enter the area Wednesday to start restoring power to about 40 customers, authorities said. The Honolulu Police Department instructed the company Sunday to cut the power to help prevent the fire from spreading, the newspaper reported.

“You can always rebuild one house, but once you lose a life that’s it … life you cannot bring it back,” resident Raymond Teruya Sr. said.

The reopening of the community came after the Honolulu medical examiner’s office ruled the deaths of officers Tiffany Enriquez, 38, and Kaulike Kalama, 34, as homicides.

Two sets of human remains were found in the burnt home where the violence began, police said. They have yet to be identified but are expected to be those of Cain and Hanel.

An official count of the fire’s monetary damage was not released, but the homes that were destroyed are valued at more than $13 million, according to property records.

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