Two women who intervened in the Diamond Head attack before the shooting started said Monday that they heard terrible screams for help from inside 3015 Hibiscus Drive Sunday morning and found suspect Jerry “Jarda” Hanel beating another tenant of the house with a three-pronged garden hoe.
The two neighbors were able to stop the beating, they said in interviews with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Monday. But they said they believe that homeowner Lois Cain also was beaten inside the home by Hanel, a long-time tenant whom Cain was trying to evict.
The tenant-landlord dispute led to the killing of two Honolulu police officers, a raging fire that destroyed seven homes, and has left two people missing and presumed dead.
Police said late Sunday that two women and Hanel were missing after the massive fire, but this afternoon HPD confirmed that one of the woman was located and is safe.
They did not identify the located woman, but the Star-Advertiser confirmed that she is a friend of Cain’s who was staying at the home and had left shortly before the attack began.
Meanwhile Jonathan Burge, Hanel’s attorney, said Monday that Cain’s sister called him to say Lois was not taken to the hospital as some neighbors had said Sunday, and that she is still missing.
“She said Lois isn’t the one in the hospital,” Burge said. “They believe she’s one of the people that died in the fire. They can’t contact her. So they say she’s missing and they are presuming she was in the fire.”
Ellen Farmer Freeman and her husband, Russel Freeman, who lived next door to 3015 Hibiscus Drive, were having coffee when they heard screaming and ran down their neighbor’s driveway. They found Hanel beating upstairs tenant Gisela Ricardi King with a three-prong garden hoe.
Ellen Freeman said she made eye contact with Hanel and asked him to stop.
“I said ‘Jarda,’ and he threw the hoe on the driveway and started punching Gisela some more,” she said.
After fellow Hibiscus Drive neighbor Jennifer Tema joined the fray, King was able to escape from Hanel’s clutches.
“I saw Jarda walk back into his area,” Ellen Freeman said.
With King’s leg bleeding badly, leaving her unable to walk, she pleaded with her neighbors to warn her son and his father, who were inside the house, to send them to safety.
The father ended up taking the boy across the street to the home of Tema to stay with her two young daughters.
Meanwhile, a man who she described as a Good Samaritan, later identified as Ian Felix, came to her assistance, she said.
“He helped me carry Gisela up the driveway and put on a tourniquet,” said Tema, adding that they used Tema’s first aid kit.
King told the neighbors that homeowner Cain was in Hanel’s apartment and in danger.
“She said ‘Quick, Jarda’s going to kill Lois!’ So I ran back down,” Tema said.
When she got to Hanel’s door, Hanel and Cain were not visible but she heard a violent altercation within. “I heard him beating, bludgeoning someone who I thought was Lois (Cain)” Tema said.
She said she begged Hanel to let Cain go.
“I told him Gisela’s OK, she’ll live, all you have to do is let Lois go,” she said.
When he didn’t respond, Tema went back up the driveway and retrieved the yard tool from the Freemans’ house to give it as evidence to the police.
At some point, Tema recalled, she and Felix carried King to an ambulance, which took the woman to the Queens Medical Center.
As shots rang out, Tema tried to run back to her house where her daughters were, but the police pulled her into cover. The Freemans went to shelter with another neighbor across the street.
The witnesses said they saw the officers being hit with gunfire. Ellen Freeman said her husband saw one of the officers “go flying back” with the impact of being shot.
The Freemans’ home was destroyed in the ensuing fire, but Tema’s home across the street was spared.