The father of the man who allegedly shot several people in a random spree said his son seemed to be "doing better" after entering himself into a drug treatment program.
Mike Stangel, pastor of the North Shore Christian Fellowship, said his son "has had a history of drugs, but he entered himself into a drug treatment program … and was doing better. We thought he had hit bottom and was on the upswing."
Stangel made the comments Wednesday night at the state Capitol after a silent march against domestic and criminal violence.
"We want to express our grief, our sincere condolences to the three families so tragically affected by this crisis, this senseless act of violence," Stangel told reporters in his first interview since the tragedy. "I wish there were some answers, but frankly, we’re just as baffled as anyone else."
Stangel was vacationing with his wife and family on the mainland when his son Toby Stangel, 28, allegedly went on a shooting rampage, killing Tammy Nguyen in front of her 16-year-old daughter and injuring two other people.
Stangel, who came back from the mainland on Tuesday, said he had no idea what his son, who lives in Wahiawa, was doing in Kaimuki, where the string of shootings began after midnight Friday.
He said when first learning of the news, his family "pretty much bottomed out."
He said his son did not go on the vacation because he was receiving drug treatment in an outpatient program at Sand Island.
He last saw his son a few weeks ago when he came over for dinner with his girlfriend to discuss God.
"He was really good at that time," Stangel said.
He said his family has received messages from people around the world who are praying for his son, similar to a time when his son nearly died in 2006.
In that incident, Toby Stangel was stabbed multiple times during a fight and lost a lot of blood, but was able to recover, he said. He didn’t believe that incident changed his son’s behavior.
Wednesday, Stangel still hadn’t spoken to his son but said that if he could, he would tell him that he loves him and is praying for him.
"God has a plan for him. Unfortunately now the plan is going to include prison," he added. "We’ve always loved him with an unconditional love and I do hope to see him soon."
About 30 others joined in the silent walk, which Stangel attended with church elder Bob Prasser, a former Honolulu Police Department assistant chief.
"I have nothing to hide," said Stangel, dressed in a blue aloha shirt and brown corduroy pants. "Obviously, it’s a shameful thing. It’s a tragic thing. … I want you to see we’re struggling with this as a family. We’re trying to figure out how to proceed, how to process this whole thing."
He said he hopes he can meet the victims’ families to express his sorrow.
"We’re sorry," he said he would tell them. "You’re innocent. This should have never happened."