January 19, 2020 / 10:09 PM / 2 months ago

Gunman kills two Hawaii police officers, dies in house fire: local media

Smoke billowing from a fire at Kapi'Olani park where an ongoing shooting incident occurred in Honolulu, Hawaii in this still image obtained from a January 19, 2020 social media video. Twitter @HelloHiMattHere via REUTERS

(Reuters) - Two Hawaii police officers were fatally shot on Sunday by a man who authorities believe later died in his home after he set it on fire in a quiet neighborhood not far from Oahu’s busy Waikiki Beach, officials and local media said.

“Our entire state mourns the loss of two Honolulu police officers killed in the line of duty this morning,” Hawaii Governor David Ige said in a statement.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell called the shootings “an unprecedented tragedy” for the state.

A third officer was injured in the incident in which the spreading fire destroyed several houses in an affluent area near the base of Diamond Head, a volcanic mountain at the southern tip of the island, KITV News reported.

Michelle Yu, a Honolulu police spokeswoman, declined to comment on the incident, but said by telephone that a press briefing was being planned.

A representative for the Honolulu field office of the FBI did not immediately reply to a telephone message seeking information.

The incident started on Sunday morning when officers arrived at the home of a man identified as Jerry Hanel, 69, after he stabbed his “landlord,” a woman, who was trying to evict him, Hawaii News Now said, citing unidentified police sources.

The officers were met with gunfire and the suspect then set fire to the home, which spread to other houses, Hawaii News Now reported. Police believe Hanel died when the house went up in flames, it said.

Pictures posted by local media showed smoke coming from several houses in the neighborhood.

Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Peter Cooney

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