A 69-year-old gunman shot and killed two Honolulu police officers before dying in a blaze that he started that ended up wounding several others in the process. Authorities identified the gunman as Jerry Hanel, who had a history of mental illness. Officials say that Hanel had a violent rap sheet; he would also often make false reports to 911.
Reports say that Hanel stabbed his landlady, Lois Cain, while she was trying to evict him from his home. When two officers arrived at the scene on Sunday, he opened fire on them.
After Hanel allegedly stabbed his landlady, concerned onlookers called police to the scene. That is when Hanel started firing at them. Ambulances took both officers to Queen’s Medical Center in critical condition, where they later died from their injuries.
The victims of the shooting were Tiffany Enriquez and Kaulike Kalama. Both had years of experience as police veterans. Hawaii Governor David Ige said in a statement, “Our entire state mourns the loss of two Honolulu Police officers killed in the line of duty this morning.”
“As we express our condolences to their families, friends, and colleagues,” he continued, “let us also come together to help and support those who have been forever changed by this tragedy.”
The Mayor, Kirk Caldwell, also offered his condolences on Twitter, “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.”
“This is an unprecedented tragedy for not only the City and County of Honolulu, but also the entire state of Hawaii,” he said.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Hanel’s neighbor reported seeing paramedics loading the landlady into an ambulance with knife wounds on her body.
That is when Hanel allegedly set his house on fire. The fire then spread to seven neighboring houses. Two of his neighbors are reportedly missing, which means the death toll could be higher than suspected.
Authorities have not yet recovered Hanel’s body. Officials believe it could be days before coroners are able to find it.