Neighbors, witnesses give more insight on suspect Jerry Hanel

Tragedy at Diamond Head

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Early Sunday morning, many woke up to panic and chaos as first responders rushed to Hibiscus Drive where two officers were shot and homes burned.

When KHON arrived on the scene, we saw grey smoke about a mile high.

Dozens of police officers, firefighters, and EMS on scene.

Some have left, but there is still police along with fire and EMS presence here on the scene. KHON also spoke to neighbors and witnesses who gave us more insight on the suspect, who was identified as 69–year-old Jerry Hanel.

Neighbors say all the trouble signs were there, and they went out of their way to keep their distance. 

Court records show that he was being evicted for not having a lease agreement. The landlord was reportedly at the house to evict the suspect. But they got into an argument and that’s when the landlord was stabbed. 

Bystanders rushed in to help.  

“I was trying to keep administer first aid with this woman and she’s in shock. She’s screaming, crying, ‘Help me. Get me out of this area.’ because I believe she’s scared of her life,” said neighbor Ian Felix. “And so the first officer responded. One person, he did tourniquet the leg and the two female officers responded. I talked to both of them before they actually went down there and I was there on the scene when the first two shots happened. That’s the time the landlord was really, really screaming, ‘Get me out of here. Let’s get out of here.’ We moved her to across the street inside the garage.”

Multiple witnesses tell us that the police were no stranger to Hanel’s home. 

“This house up here has had police officers at it for over a year and a half. Sometimes two, three times a day, a night, usually in the evening,” said Brant Kelsey, who lives in the area. “And I have a friend that I play tennis with up there and I said, ‘Matt, What’s going on up on your street?’ It’s a nice street. you know. I said, ‘Do you have police officers that live on your street?’ Because I see them there so frequently. He says ‘No, that guy’s crazy.”

Rebecca Atkinson believes Hanel has been living on Hibiscus Drive longer than she has and she’s been there for about 10 years. 

She says she, as well as other neighbors, have filed Temporary Restraining Orders against Hanel.

“I wanted the law on my side in case he continued to harass me,” said Atkinson, who lives in the area. “People said he was maybe paranoid or schizophrenic. That’s what I heard. He was doing harmless things but it all adds up to harassment. So I wanted to have the restraining order in place. I never had to use it which is good because I just avoided him whenever I had to whenever I could.”

Police have set up a perimeter around the scene.

The road to Hibiscus Drive is closed, and there are some residents who haven’t been able to get back home.

KHON learned that seven homes were destroyed by the fire.

Red Cross has set up a shelter at the Waikiki Elementary School.

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