Arrests made in two Waikiki stabbings; SHOPO says officer shortage impacts patrols

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — Police have arrested 21-year-old Oscar Cardona for second-degree murder in connection with Tuesday’s fatal stabbing in Waikiki. He has not yet been charged.

The 19-year-old victim has been identified as Elian Delacerda, of California.

According to witnesses, Cardona and Delacerda were fighting near what’s known as “The Wall” in Waikiki. The medical examiner said Delacerda died from a stab wound to the chest.

About a half hour later, and 20 yards down the road, a 21-year-old man was stabbed in the throat and taken to the hospital in critical condition.

Otis Alexander, 29, was arrested for attempted murder. He was charged with first-degree assault, first-degree terroristic threatening and first-degree prohibited weapon.

His bail is set at $100,000. Police said he’s still in custody as of Wednesday.

Tuesday’s double stabbing and the increase in tourism have many in the community calling for action, but SHOPO president Malcolm Lutu said it’s not that simple.

“Overall, there is a shortage,” Lutu explained. “We’re about 300-plus short department wide, and as far as the Waikiki patrol, we’re running about 70% at the least per shift on the road.”

Waikiki neighborhood board chair Robert Finley understands police are doing what they can but said that’s not enough.

“Seventy percent worked during COVID because we didn’t have that many people on the street,” Finley said. “But now we’ve got thousands of people on the street every day and it’s becoming less effective.”

According to HPD Crimemapping, 36 crimes were reported in Waikiki within a half-mile radius of the stabbings — a block from the police substation — for the week of May 12 and May 19. That number jumped to 46 the following week.

However, the fatal stabbing of Delacerda was the only murder during that three-week period.

“It was isolated,” Lutu said. “We don’t see incidents like that often in Waikiki.”

Lutu said violent crimes aren’t trending but admits patrols during late night hours aren’t as frequent.

“We might have to do a little bit of adjusting,” Lutu said. “Maybe with certain other units maybe helping out during peak hours. But as you know, (the stabbing) wasn’t during peak hours. So it will probably stay the same, and officers would do the best they can out there.”

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi said he plans to talk to the police chief about beefing up patrols.

“The police department right now is somewhat understaffed,” Blangiardi explained. “But, that’s not a reason why we can’t take care of this area the way that we should be.”

Lutu said the officer shortage will only get worse.

“It’s hard to attract candidates to do this job anymore,” he said.

Lutu said racial attacks, changes in laws that protected police officers and their families, being subjected to harsh criticism and being plastered on the news are to blame for the shortage.

Initial reports from Emergency Medical Services indicated that the victim was from Las Vegas. After more information was obtained, officials said the victim was from California.

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