A 44-year-old man has been charged for allegedly setting another man on fire in Kaneohe.
Joel Lonzaga was charged with second-degree attempted murder and two drug offenses. His bail is set at $200,000.
Investigators say at about 6:15 p.m. on Wednesday, May 7, Lonzaga got into an argument with a man at a home on Anoi Rd. According to police, Lonzaga allegedly doused the man with flammable liquid and set him on fire.
Emergency Medical Services officials say the man suffered second-degree burns and was hospitalized in critical condition.
Kaneohe residents are still in shock over the horrifying crime on their street. Neighbors say Lonzaga and the victim are friends, and the two had been drinking together when an argument escalated.
“To see it anywhere, it’s pretty rare that that happens, at least in this country,” said neighbor Edi Schadwill. “It’s unbelievable that somebody can do that to somebody else you know.”
Schadwill saw the whole thing happen and he still can’t believe it. Schadwill told KHON2 he heard Lonzaga and the victim arguing just outside the house. Neighbors say Lonzaga lives there with his mother.
Schadwill said he went over to the house to try and stop the fight. “All of a sudden, he was on fire, so when I got there to help him, you can smell gasoline,” he said. “That’s all you can smell is gasoline and they were putting him out with the hose and getting him to roll over.”
Neighbors said the flames reached higher than the roof of the house, and Lonzaga was crazed with anger.
“He was just standing there. He was standing there saying, ‘Hey, he deserved it,’ and he started running taking off,” Schadwill said.
Witnesses said Lonzaga tried to get away by running up the road, but neighbors cut him off trying to catch him, so he hopped over a fence and ran into the creek. With nowhere else to go, witnesses said Lonzaga then started throwing knives at his pursuers.
“He had many knives,” Schadwill said. “I didn’t see them, but the guys chasing him said he was throwing them at them.”
Neighbors eventually pinned Lonzaga down and held him until police officers arrived.
Records show Lonzaga was convicted in the past for criminal property damage, terroristic threatening, DUI and driving without a license.