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Hawaii News

Man arrested after Waipahu standoff was on leave from job as prison guard

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BRUCE ASATO / BASATO@STARADVERTISER.COM

Police SWAT team officers trained their rifles Saturday afternoon on an apartment where a man had barricaded himself inside. Later in the evening, above, officers positioned themselves across the courtyard from the apartment. After hours of negotiations, the suspect was arrested just after 8 p.m. that evening.

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BRUCE ASATO / BASATO@STARADVERTISER.COM

Police SWAT team officers trained their rifles Saturday afternoon on an apartment where a man had barricaded himself inside.

A prison guard remained in custody awaiting charges Sunday after he held police teams at bay for more than six hours.

Renie C. Cablay, 54, allegedly threatened a neighbor with a machete on Saturday afternoon, then refused to open his door to police. Hours of negotiations ensued before he surrendered.

Police arrested Cablay just after 8 p.m. Saturday for investigation of first-degree terroristic threatening.

Cablay is an adult corrections officer at Oahu Community Correctional Center who is currently on leave, according to Toni Schwartz, Hawaii Department of Public Safety public information officer.

The standoff at the Leolua Regent apartments in Waipahu kept the neighborhood on edge, with police at one point warning residents to stay back to avoid potential exposure to errant bullets. In the end, no shots were fired.

Apartment dwellers gathered outside 94-099 Waipahu St. and watched as more than 15 police officers, including members of the department’s SWAT team and canine units, swarmed the building’s courtyard and positioned themselves on balconies.

Honolulu police Lt. S. Kapeliela said police are investigating claims that the man charged a neighbor with a machete earlier in the afternoon. Kapeliela said police arrived at the scene around 2:30 p.m. and after hours of negotiating persuaded the man to surrender.

“He came out with his hands open,” Kapeliela said. “It ended peacefully. No one got injured. This evening was a win-win. We always like to end a situation like this without violence. A lot of people played a big part in this, including the residents, who were very cooperative.”

Mabel Vergara, a resident of the complex, said she was grateful that she could finally get back to her apartment.

“So many of us are hungry and need to go to the bathroom,” said Vergara, who had been waiting to get back into her building since 3 p.m. “My neighbor bought a gallon of milk at 5 p.m. and she’s been standing here all this time.”

One neighbor, who did not want to disclose her name for fear of reprisals, said police were called after the man threatened her brother-in-law twice with a machete, once on the stairs leading to their apartments and once when her brother-in-law passed by his apartment.

“The guy said to my brother-in-law, ‘You and your kids trying to break into our house and steal,’” the woman said. “The first time he swung at my brother-in-law on the stairs. The second time he swung out in front of his house. He missed and then backed up and ran inside his house.”

The woman said her boyfriend yelled at the man and told him to keep his door closed because they planned to call the police.

“We were concerned for everyone. There’s lots of kids in this complex,” she said.

Valerie Mattos, who has lived in the complex since the 1980s, said she called the police after hearing loud noises coming from a nearby unit. Mattos said the suspect has lived in the complex about a year and is the kind of neighbor “who sticks to himself.”

Keesha Gonzales, who has lived in the complex for 11 years, said the event is the biggest police incident that has taken place in the building in the last decade.

“It’s typical for cops to come here, but not for anything like this,” Gonzales said.

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