A Hawaii handyman with a history of run-ins with police and neighbours faced eviction when he stabbed his landlord and killed two officers before the house he and two women were believed to be inside burned, authorities and neighbours said.
Police responding Sunday to a call for help at the location found a woman stabbed in the leg and resident Jaroslav “Jerry” Hanel, began shooting, killing Officers Tiffany Enriquez, a seven-year veteran, and Kaulike Kalama, a nine-year veteran, Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard said.
Police suspect Hanel, who was in his 60s, and two women who have not been identified were inside the house when it caught fire. They were presumed dead and Ballard said it could take days for authorities to recover remains and process evidence.
The fire just a few blocks from oceanfront high-rise buildings spread, destroying seven homes and leaving others with fire or smoke damage. As it raged, the sound of dozens of apparent gunshots rang out.
Ballard said no other officers were injured but that authorities were investigating whether ammunition, incendiary devices or explosives contributed to the intensity of the blaze. The apparent gunfire prompted authorities to initially prevent firefighters from approaching.
The homeowner, Lois Cain, had recently sought the eviction of Hanel, who lived in the home for free in exchange for his work, according to court records and a lawyer who has represented him.
A neighbour told The Associated Press she saw Cain being put into an ambulance suffering from knife wounds. Her condition was not disclosed.
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