Diamond Head landlord was ‘closest to family’ the attacker had

Tragedy at Diamond Head

The suspect and victim, presumed to have died in or before the fire at the house the blaze started, had a trusting friendship for more than a decade prior to the Sunday attack, shootings and fire. Always Investigating found out more about what went wrong.

Attorney Jonathan Burge says Lois Cain, the owner of 3015 Hibiscus, and Jerry Hanel, her longtime property caretaker, had been so close that Cain even supported Hanel on past court and restraining-order matters. She was worried, however, that his mental state was slipping.

Soon after investigators found human remains Tuesday, Always Investigating caught up again Burge, who has worked with Hanel and also knew Cain.

“I’m pretty sure hers will be one of the remains there,” Burge said. “Hopefully they’ll identify Mr. Hanel was one of those remains and at least it will bring a little bit of closure to the community.”

Cain’s next of kin — a sister — has been in touch with Burge.

KHON2 asked, does Hanel have any next of kin that he knows of, any loved ones anywhere?

“As far as I know, no,” Burge said. “The closest to family he had was Lois.”

It’s a devastating turn in a decade-long friendship.

“She was always wanting to help him. She never spoke ill will about him ever. She actually supported him through all of his problems with the neighbors,” Burge said, referring to the multiple restraining orders filed against him or that he tried to take out against others. “She was going to be a witness for him in fact.”

KHON2 asked: What were they like together?

“Like age old friend,” Burge said, “just knew what each other was thinking and stuff. Something really bad had to happen to make him do what he did.”

Cain had let Hanel live for years at the home in exchange for property caretaking. That changed last month when she asked him to move out — something formalized with an ejectment summons filed by an attorney and served last week. An ejectment is a form of eviction notice, but used in situations where there is no formal lease. Before that, though, Cain had tried to get him to leave starting in December.

“She did mention in that December timeframe that she thought his mental health was slipping,” Burge said, “and we talked about some things she could try to do, and just be careful and all that’s happening. She was worried about his mental health.”

Last Burge knew, Hanel had agreed to pack up and go.

“He did come and talk to me about it in December and Lois had actually called me as well because she knows that I can talk to him,” Burge recalls. “And she kind of told me the steps she was going to do. I talked to Jerry about it and I said, ‘Listen you’ve got to go if you’ve got to go.’”

“He didn’t like it but I said, ‘Alright you’re going to move out, you want a little more time? I’m sure she’ll give you a little more time, Jerry, but you know you’re going to have to find a place, just give me your address,’” Burge continued. “He goes, ‘OK I’ll give you my address,’ and then he left.”

KHON2 asked Burge: From what you know or think might have happened, would he have approached her that day, would she have approached him? How could they come to be behind closed doors together?

“When she talked to me about the eviction (in December) her first understanding was that she could just go there and tell him to leave because he didn’t have a lease,” Burge recalled. “So I talked story with her, I told her, ‘No, Lois, you’ve got  go through official channels, go to court, get your order, and then the sheriffs will help you and I’ll try talk to him and it should be ok.’ She never said she was going to go talk to him one more time.”

“To me this was a pretty big shock, especially the gun, my god,” Burge said. “Never would I have imagined that he would have shot police officers and things of that nature. I think the officers were surprised too because they’d been there, talked to him on multiple occasions.”

Now, Burge — who knew Cain and Hanel — and a good Samaritan who never knew either of them are both left wondering what could have gone differently.

“I’ve racked my brain what could I have said or done different but there was literally no clue,” Burge said.

“I keep going back to ‘what if’ again and again,” said Ian Felix, a good Samaritan from Ewa Beach who happened to be in the Diamond Head area at the time of the attacks. He rendered first aid to another of Hanel’s victim’s — upstairs tenant Gisela Ricardi King — who survived the attack.

“I keep waking up at 4 o’clock in the morning since this happened,” Felix, a combat veteran, says of the thoughts that haunt him. “I lead soldiers in combat. I go in clearing houses. I go to myself, ‘I should have just went in.’”

In, he says, to Hanel’s unit. Felix and another good Samaritan had come just steps away from Hanel’s door in order to try to help Cain. Felix says he heard Hanel had attacked her inside Hanel’s ground-floor apartment. But Felix was stopped by another man.

“He says, ‘please don’t go there, please,’” Felix said. “He was telling me that the man has a weapon.”

The time Felix was stopped at the door until shots rang out at the officer: “Five minutes,” Felix says.

“As soon as the man ran down there and stopped both of us, we came back up and that’s the time the first officer came,” Felix recalls. “Then he did tourniquet and not 30 seconds later, two female officers came. I talked to them before they started going down the driveway, and as soon as they get there, probably not even 15 seconds later, I heard the two shots.”

“I should have just went in,” Felix repeats.

Hanel was on a killing rampage though, though, the reporter responds.

“It doesn’t really matter,” Felix says. “It doesn’t really matter.”

Felix had taken the bus from Ewa Beach with his mother that morning, to give her some extra help at the home she works at in the area.

He says aloha and selflessness filled the scene amid the unspeakable horror unfolding.

“What I saw that time when I was there was everybody helping. That means love, that’s true love from the community,” Felix said. “They know there’s a danger and they still help.”

“I want to say my deepest condolence to the families of (Officers) Tiffany (Enriquez) and Kaulike (Kalama) for their loss, plus the owners of the houses that have been burned down,” Felix says. “Thank you for the people, the officers, the paramedics down there.”

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