Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Feb. 18, 2020

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Lawyer: Suspect in Hawaii police deaths was ‘out of control’

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Bystanders watch black smoke billowing from a house fire after a shooting and domestic incident at a residence on Hibiscus Road near Diamond Head on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, in Honolulu. Witnesses say at least two Honolulu police officers were shot and two civilians were injured. Moments after the shooting, the house was set on fire, possibly by the suspect. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP)
Bystanders watch black smoke billowing from a house fire after a shooting and domestic incident at a residence on Hibiscus Road near Diamond Head on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, in Honolulu. Witnesses say at least two Honolulu police officers were shot and two civilians were injured. Moments after the shooting, the house was set on fire, possibly by the suspect. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP) Photo Gallery

HONOLULU — A man suspected of stabbing a woman and killing two Hawaii police officers last weekend wandered his neighborhood recording people with a camera mounted on his hat and rigged a barbecue grill to blow thick smoke directly into neighbors’ windows, a lawyer for residents said.

Jaroslav “Jerry” Hanel, a handyman who lived in the home in exchange for his work and faced eviction, stabbed a woman in the leg Sunday before he fired on responding authorities, killing Honolulu Police Officers Tiffany Enriquez and Kaulike Kalama, police said.

A fire at Hanel’s residence then spread through a normally peaceful neighborhood at the far end of the famed Waikiki Beach neighborhood.

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

Authorities did not respond to repeated requests for comment on Monday. Police have said Hanel is missing and they’re almost certain he is inside the burned house. Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard had said it could take days to process evidence and recover any remains.

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

The sister said she spoke with the woman who had been stabbed, who was one of the tenants of the house, Burge said. That woman has not been identified by authorities, nor have the missing women.

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.

Cain had recently 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.

Associated Press freelance photographer Marco Garcia contributed to this report.

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