Police found two sets of possible human remains at the Hibiscus Drive home where two Honolulu police officers were fatally shot.
The remains have not yet been identified, Deputy Chief John McCarthy said Tuesday.
A crew of police officers, firefighters and FBI agents are at the scene investigating, he said.
“We’re trying to make sense out of it,” he said. “It’s a slow and meticulous process.”
One of the missing people that police were searching for was Lois Cain, the 77-year-old owner of that home at 3015 Hibiscus Drive.
Widespread reports from the chaotic scene Sunday were that Cain, who had for years allowed the man believed to be responsible for the shootings to live in her house, had been stabbed and taken to a local hospital.
But on Monday, Honolulu police officials said Cain was one of two people unaccounted for after the shooting and raging fire that destroyed or damaged numerous homes in the Diamond Head neighborhood. Neighbors worry she may have perished inside the burning house.
The other person still unaccounted for is the suspected shooter, Jerry Hanel, who police believe attacked another neighbor and killed two officers before igniting Cain’s home. He had been served an eviction notice by Cain last week.
“We’re pretty sure he’s in the rubble somewhere,” McCarthy said Monday. “Until we locate him, we won’t take any chances.”
Hanel’s lawyer, Jonathan Burge, says Lois Cain’s sister told him Cain was unaccounted for.
On Sunday, the media had first reported that Cain had been stabbed by Hanel. But the stabbing victim, according to Cain’s sister, was instead a tenant in the house who was taken to The Queen’s Medical Center.
Neighbors who tried to help the victims fear Cain was still in the home, gravely injured or worse, when it went up in flames.
A day after the incident that ripped through an otherwise quiet and affluent area, residents and police are still searching for answers.
Neighbors believe the eviction notice Hanel received from Cain could have triggered his violent outburst.
That home, valued at $1.6 million, was reduced to ash and rubble in an inferno that destroyed six other homes and may have damaged at least a dozen others.
The block around Hibiscus Drive and Diamond Head Road was closed to foot and car traffic by police Monday.
Police and fire crews were sorting through the rubble Monday. Meanwhile, residents in the tight-knit community that’s known as part of the Gold Coast area were left sorting out how and why Hanel, a 69-year-old who has long lived near Diamond Head, allegedly killed two officers and wreaked havoc in the neighborhood.
It’s still not clear how the fire started. And for some, it’s not clear how Hanel ever moved into the neighborhood in the first place.
Most everyone knows everyone in that Diamond Head neighborhood. They see each other while jogging, or walking the dog. They stop to chat and gossip. They throw block parties on holidays.
Just like everyone knew each other, they also knew Hanel.
It’s not clear what Hanel’s relationship was to Cain.
“She looked at him like an older son,” Stephany Sofos, a Gold Coast resident.
Hanel first moved in a decade ago, Sofos said. Cain, 77, liked the work he did around the house, which also gave Cain time to care for her mother.
Hanel left the Czech Republic by way of Germany 25 years ago.
Cain helped Hanel find jobs, Sofos said. No one, including Cain, thought he was capable of violence, she said.
“He was the guy you’d just talk story to,” Craig Rasmussen, a former resident at a nearby condominium, said of Hanel. “He was always concerned about the older people living in the building. You could tell he was a caring person.”
He was previously a resident manager at the nearby Tropic Seas condominium, where Rasmussen was a resident.
Hanel was fired from that job about five years ago, Sofos said.
But he’d still come around with his dog to play fetch on the property, Rasmussen, who now lives in Washington state, recalled.
“He was a happy go lucky person, when he was in a good mood,” Rasmussen said.
Hanel often had disputes with neighbors, and Sofos said he wasn’t very diplomatic. Court records show that at least one neighbor had a restraining order against him.
But Hanel enjoyed the neighborhood. So much so, that he often lead with it in conversations.
“He wanted to be known as a Gold Coast resident,” Rasmussen said.
He’d lived nowhere else in the state besides that Diamond Head neighborhood and didn’t appear to have relatives in the state either.
Things changed when his dog died about nine months ago.
“He became more peculiar, crazier,” Sofos said.
Neighbors warned Cain that she should either kick him out or help him move. But Cain didn’t listen, until last week, when she served him with an eviction notice.
“He knew nothing except the Gold Coast,” Sofos said. “If she evicted him, he’d be homeless. He’d be in a desperate position.”
Sofos was taking a routine morning walk with her dogs Sunday when she heard a “blood-curdling scream” from up the road.
In Cain’s driveway lay Gisela King, a tenant in the house, bleeding from a stab wound, said Sofos.
Sofos said King screamed that Hamel was trying to kill her and trying to kill Cain, too.
Neighbors had already intervened to stop Hanel from attacking King further and called police, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.
King had been a resident of Cain’s home for five years along with her husband and son, Sofos said. Neighbors helped King out of the way while another ran toward the home to find Hanel and Cain.
King, the woman who Hanel allegedly stabbed, was released from The Queen’s Medical Center Monday, Hawaii News Now reported.
Sofos said she heard bludgeoning sounds from inside the house “like something being squished.”
Police, some of whom had dealt with Hanel before, arrived and were preparing to arrest him.
In the first group advancing up the driveway was Ofc. Tiffany Enriquez, 38, who’d served seven years on the force. Ofc. Kaulike Kalama, 34, who had nine years with HPD, was in a second group providing backup, according to Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard.
Both were fatally shot.
There was a loud boom, an exchange of gunfire, and then screams and calls for help, said Sofos.
Officers made frantic calls over the radio while instructing the neighbors to get to cover. Sofos took shelter across the street, where officers began CPR on Kalama.
“I thought I was going to die,” Sofos said. “I thought, this guy (Hanel) is going to go down in a blaze of glory.”
Sofos, who made several Facebook live videos of the incident that got thousands of views, said that as officers began to pour into the street, smoke started pouring out from the back of Cain’s house.
Police footage later showed the blaze consuming homes and parked cars, including several police vehicles.
“It went up very fast, very hot,” Sofos said. “The intensity of it was bad.”
Police ordered everyone off the street, but Sofos couldn’t run, she said. Instead, she took shelter in a home opposite Cain’s.
The heat was so intense, Sofos and the family that lived there had to leave. Sofos eventually got away from the street by hopping fences into La Pietra school.
The entire ordeal lasted hours as fire crews weren’t immediately allowed to fight the flames because police couldn’t pinpoint where Hanel was. By the time flames were under control Sunday afternoon, seven homes were destroyed.
It’s still not clear how Hanel acquired the weapons he allegedly used on police. Ballard said at a Sunday press conference he did not have any permits to own a gun.
The Honolulu Fire Department is also still investigating how the fire started.
And questions remain about the condition of Hanel’s mental health.
Attorney David Hayakawa has represented three neighbors in restraining orders against Hanel since 2014.
The neighbors complained of bizarre and annoying behavior including Hanel chasing cars down the street and confronting their guests and workers who came to their homes. He also recorded them with a GoPro camera mounted on his hat and rigged a barbecue grill to blow thick smoke directly into their windows, Hayakawa said Monday.
“Just crazy things,” he said. “It was pretty clear he was out of control.”
He would hide in bushes and watch people and he yelled at tourists who were lost while trying to get to Diamond Head, Hayakawa said.
“He was kind of in his own mind, block security,” Hayakawa said. When a woman who lived in the area would walk her dog or jog past Hanel’s home, “he focused on her and would take her picture,” Hayakawa said.
Rasmussen wished someone had intervened earlier.
“Maybe there was a time, when he was going in for his restraining orders, or when police had contact with him. It just seemed there were opportunities along the way,” he said.
Material from The Associated Press was used in this story. Civil Beat reporter Yoohyun Jung contributed to this story.
Civil Beat is a small nonprofit newsroom, and we’re committed to a paywall-free website and subscription-free content because we believe in journalism as a public service.
That’s why donations from readers like you are essential to our continued existence.
Help keep our journalism free for all readers by becoming a monthly member of Civil Beat today.