Tuesday, January 16, 2001
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Posted on: Tuesday, January 16, 2001

Police say gunman, not officers, shot woman

Loved ones mourn loss of shooting victim

By Brandon Masuoka
Advertiser Staff Writer

A 25-year-old woman was fatally shot by her boyfriend and was not shot by any of the five police officers who fired 20 bullets at the fleeing gunman in the Ala Moana Center parking lot on Saturday night, the police department said yesterday.

Witnesses reported hearing gunshots before police arrived, and the initial investigation found that the officers fired at 26-year-old Michell Udani only after he got out of the car, where Cherry Ann Cachola Domingo already had been shot and killed, Lt. Gregory Poole said.

"There’s nothing to lead us to believe that that lady was killed by an officer," said Poole of the department’s internal affairs office. "It didn’t appear that the officers shot at the vehicle."

Honolulu Police Chief Lee Donohue made the same statement earlier, saying: "At no time did we fire at the vehicle."

On Sunday, autopsies by the city medical examiner’s office found that Domingo died of more than one shotgun wound in the head, and Udani died from a bullet that entered his chest.

Mindset unknown

Police believe that Udani shot Domingo with a shotgun inside a Mercedes-Benz sport utility vehicle owned by Domingo’s family. Police said when they arrived, he jumped out of the vehicle and fired at them.

Poole said police can’t say whether Udani opened fire at the officers as a means of ending his life.

"That’s something we’ll never know," Poole said. "We’ll never know what was in his mind."

Yesterday, Udani’s friends mourned his death, sympathizing with Domingo’s family, but saying that Udani loved his 1-year-old daughter, Leeona Elizabeth.

"He’s not what everybody thinks and sees and hears about," said William Puchalski, 27, of Kalihi, who knew Udani for eight years. "He is a good friend and a good father."

Udani, a 1992 Waipahu High School graduate who liked to surf, was a "happy-go-lucky" type of guy who became serious about his future once his daughter was born, Puchalski said.

"That’s why he wanted to get a job," Puchalski said. "He’d do anything for his daughter. That was his joy. That was his life."

Another friend, Danny Castro, 27, of Waipahu, said Udani called him up twice on the day of the shooting to ask him what he was doing. Udani’s last call was about 9 p.m., about one hour before the shooting.

"Usually on Saturday nights we go clubbing," said Castro, who has known Udani for more than 10 years. "But that night I was too busy doing things with my girlfriend. He understood. He said, OK, OK’ and hung up the phone."

Something happened’

Castro said Udani wanted to marry Domingo, purchased a ring and proposed to her on an interisland flight last year.

"He bought a one-karat, princess-cut ring," Castro said. "I know it cost a lot. He gave it to her. He proposed on a trip to Maui on the plane. I thought they were all set. Ready to get married. And something happened.

"When he was with his daughter, he seemed so happy," Castro continued. "The days when he didn’t have his daughter, he felt left out. He wanted to spend time with Leeona."

Puchalski said he didn’t learn about the shooting until Sunday afternoon.

"I felt sick to my stomach," Puchalski said. "I felt like I was losing a brother."

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