Couple found shot to death at Wai'anae apartment unit
By Suzanne Roig
Advertiser Staff Writer
WAI'ANAE — A couple found dead of gunshot wounds yesterday morning became the latest to die in a spate of violence on O'ahu that has claimed five lives in the past two weeks.
The man and woman, described by a neighbor as boyfriend and girlfriend, were found dead at the Pokai Bay Beach Cabanas by the woman's mother.
Officially, police described the deaths as a homicide and unattended death, but the case had the characteristics of a murder-suicide.
It's not always easy to see domestic violence, said Nanci Kreidman, chief executive of the nonprofit agency Domestic Violence Action Center.
"It's very hard to arrive at any definitive consensus ," Kreidman said. "We're always going to have domestic homicides. We live in a violent culture where people use violence to control others.
"These acts take place in a context."
The names of the victims had not been released last night, and distraught friends and family declined to speak to the media.
Honolulu Police Lt. Bill Kato, of the homicide division, said the mother went to the apartment around 9 a.m. and found her 39-year-old daughter and the 33-year-old man dead in the living room. She went to their ground-floor apartment after her daughter's employer called when the woman did not show up for work.
A handgun was found at the scene, Kato said. The last time the woman was seen alive was about 9 p.m. Thursday.
Imelda Tagaleoo, a resident of the Pokai Bay Beach Cabanas for two years, said she heard a loud banging yesterday morning that she thought was a slamming door at the time.
"I looked outside with the manager and listened to see if the noise would happen again," Tagaleoo said. "But nothing."
The four-story pink apartment building where the deaths occurred faces the ocean and Pōka'ī Bay, where stand-up paddlers, swimmers and sunbathers enjoyed the beach, oblivious to the tragedy.
Family members and friends gathered on the beach on the diamondhead side of the building hoping for information from police. They hugged and cried and at one point, gathered in a circle and said prayers.
A group of students had gathered near the apartment building early yesterday morning for a picnic. Kaiini Hamili was at the beach at 7:30 a.m. and said she had heard someone crying, but no shouting or gunshots.
"And then we were setting up and we heard sirens and stuff and the police showed up with their yellow crime scene tape," Hamili said.