Security concerns were raised at a Maui mall even before the brutal attack that killed a man. A store owner says he complained to management about it but his concerns were never taken seriously.

The store owner says his complaints were not taken seriously until the attack happened. He says after that, management made what he considered a threat.

Daniel Norton owns a furniture store called Village Home at Queen Kaahumanu Center. He says more than a week before the fatal stabbing of Eduardo Alejandro Cerezo inside the second floor bathroom of the mall, he complained to mall management about vagrants harassing customers outside the store. But he says management told him to stop complaining.

“They actually sounded humorous and entertaining is the word that was used, that we were complaining about these issues,” said Norton.

He says one manager even accused him of being a racist. But he says the worst of it was when he got an email from another manager.

“His response was to have the, what he referred to as homeless people rounded up, put on buses, and sent to my house if I would provide my home address,” Norton said.

We reached out to mall management and a spokeswoman sent us a statement saying,

“Queen Ka’ahumanu Center ownership and management is committed to the safety of our customers and tenants.  We take all communication between our employees and tenants very seriously. In this particular case, the views expressed by one QKC employee is not reflective of our ownership or management team and disciplinary action will be determined.  We are committed to a collaborative lessor/lessee relationship that is based on open communication to consistently deliver a comfortable and inviting shopping center experience for our community and visitors.”

Norton says the stabbing might have been prevented if management had taken his security concerns seriously. 

“Had security been where they should have been and quite possibly where they would have been at the Maui mall or other properties that Allied Security manages then this situation could have been prevented,” Norton said.

Cerezo’s family also sent us a statement through their attorney saying,

“We, the family of Alex Cerezo, are concerned and disappointed by Queen Ka’ahumanu Center management’s response to safety concerns brought to them by a shop owner at the mall. We are shocked that a management level employee would send such a callous email at all, let alone weeks following Alex’s tragic death. It is our hope that Alex’s death and the security issues brought to light today will result in significant changes to the security and operations at the Queen Ka’ahumanu Center.  
Based on this and other information our family has received from the community, we have retained attorney Jeffrey Foster to represent the family, and to conduct a full investigation into Alex’s death. If anyone has any information that they would like to share with our family, we have established an email address for tips –
In conclusion, we would like to send our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Mr. Norton for coming forward and bringing awareness to the safety concerns at the Queen Ka’ahumanu Center. Mr. Norton’s decision to come forward and make his concerns public will hopefully lead to immediate changes that will protect the safety of shoppers, employees and shop owners. 
If we can prevent another senseless tragedy from occurring at the Queen Ka’ahumanu Center, Alex’s death will not be in vain.”

Norton says a managing partner at the mall contacted him today to apologize. and told him that changes will be made to improve security at the mall.