Visitor to Diamond Head tragedy home says she tried to help, but laws prevented agencies from helping

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — Tuesday marks the tragic anniversary of two slain Honolulu Police Officers at the hand of Jerry Hanel.

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A third person killed in the shooting and fire was homeowner Lois Cain, who was letting Hanel live in the home.

Cain’s friend Janice Morrow, who was staying at the residence at the time of the tragedy, tried to warn authorities of Hanel’s volatility.

Morrow says she contacted Honolulu Police, Adult Protection Services, the office of the Ombudsman, the District Attorney’s office, as well as elder and domestic abuse hotlines.

HPD responded and talked to Cain on two separate occasions, but Morrow says Cain was hesitant to reveal how afraid she was of Hanel.

“She’s like, I know you’re well meaning Janice, but you might do more damage,” Morrow said. “She didn’t want to ruffle any feathers.”

The office of the Ombudsman and APS also called back, but HPD couldn’t get a warrant for Hanel’s living quarters even though Morrow said she had seen guns in his possession years earlier.

“Their hands were tied,” Morrow said. “Everybody that I contacted because of the way the laws are written. They really couldn’t do much else. they could not go in and do a search warrant unless there was ground. And you’ve got Lois saying everything is fine to APS, and the office of the Ombudsman.”

The state legislature is working on a gun violence commission through HB2744, which is aimed at finding holes in mental health issues and gun violence to craft future laws.

“The first time that we’re really going to get all of law enforcement, all different agencies, plus mental health professionals together at the same table to identify where the shortcomings are in communication, and what can be done to close loopholes that hopefully can prevent this kind of tragedy from happening in the future,” State Senator Chris Lee said.

Morrow thinks Cain was embarrassed by the situation, and wishes she would’ve evicted Hanel from California.

“I wish that Lois had evicted while she was out of state and had him served because even if he had burned down the house she would still be here,” said Morrow.

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