Two police officers were killed after a tenant facing eviction opened fire on them on Sunday in Honolulu.
The gunman, identified as 69-year-old Jaroslav Hanel, reportedly set fire to the bungalow where he had been staying, reports the New York Times.
According to local fire officials, the fire quickly spread, destroying six other nearby homes and damaging several others.
Responding to 911 calls, Officers Tiffany-Victoria Enriquez and Kaulike Kalama arrived at the scene on Hibiscus Drive in Diamond Head at around 9 a.m. Hanel started shooting at the police officers as soon as he spotted them.
Officer Enriquez, who was also a U.S. Air Force Veteran, was a seven-year veteran of the Honolulu Police Department’s District 6; she leaves behind three children. Officer Kalama, a nine-year veteran of Honolulu Police Department’s District 7, leaves behind a wife and son.
Enriquez and Kalama were the first Honolulu police officers to be killed in the line of duty since 2012.
At a news conference Sunday night, Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard said the officers who died were like her children. Meanwhile, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said that the loss of Officers Enriquez and Kalama was “deeply painful.”
Ballard shared that the incident began with Hanel stabbing his landlord earlier in the morning. The landlord, who was identified as Lois Cain, is now missing and presumed dead. It was later revealed that Cain had let Hanel live in the home rent-free in return for his handyman work. According to Cain’s lawyer, she may have confronted Hanel before the violent outburst as she had recently sought to evict him, reports Hawaii Public Radio.
Hanel and an unidentified woman, believed to be Cain, remain unaccounted for. Investigators have since discovered two sets of human remains in the ashes of the burned Diamond Head home but their identities are yet to be confirmed.
Since the tragedy, the local community has come together to honor Enriquez and Kalama as fallen heroes.
Among the beautiful tributes that have poured in, are the portraits of Officers Tiffany Enriquez and Kaulike Kalama by Jonny Castro, a Philadelphia-based artist who specializes in forensic composite portraits of officers killed in the line of duty.
As family and friends continue to mourn the loss of the two officers, the family of Officer Kalama released the following statement to the public:
“The family of Officer Kaulike Kalama would like to express their deep appreciation to the community for all of their expressions of love and support during a very difficult time. Kaulike was loved and respected by those who knew him and he will be greatly missed. He was a loving husband, father, son, and brother and a good friend to all who knew him. His wife & 14-year-old son are devastated by the loss.
Officer Kaulike loved serving his community as a police officer. The family would especially like to thank Kaulike’s fellow officers in District 7 and to all of the officers, EMS personnel, and hospital staff for their tremendous support on that tragic day. We would like to express our sincere aloha to the family of Officer Tiffany Enriquez and are grateful for their kind words and support. We grieve for them and their great loss. They are in our daily prayers during this painful time.”