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Police investigate murder-suicide involving retired officer

By Gregg K. Kakesako

LAST UPDATED: 2:50 p.m. HST, Feb 13, 2012

A retired Honolulu Police officer apparently shot his ill wife in Hawaii Kai Sunday and then turned the weapon on himself in what appears to be a murder-suicide, police said.

The Medical Examiner’s Office identified the couple as Leighton Yasuhara, 81, and his wife Julia, 79.

A Honolulu Police Department spokeswoman confirmed that Yasuhara served on the police force.

Police said Yasuhara’s son heard three gunshots coming from their bedroom when he checked on them after his father unexpectedly cancelled an appointment Sunday morning.

The man went to his parent’s Anakua Street home at about 11 a.m. and tried to get into the bedroom after hearing the shots, but the door was locked, police said. He called 911 and police discovered what appeared to be a murder-suicide.

An autopsy will be conducted today to determine the cause of death.

The couple was unresponsive and paramedics at the scene made the death pronouncement.

The woman was suffering from a long-term illness, police said.

A spokesman for Aha Hui O Na Makai Hauola, a club for retired Honolulu Police officers, said Yasuhara “was very close” to his wife.  “I can understand he would want to be with her.”

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