One day after a shooting in Waikiki left one man dead and two others wounded, dozens of police officers converged on a McCully apartment building and took three men into custody.
The shooting occurred at around 6 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, outside Club Alley Cat near the corner of Kuhio and Seaside avenues.
Maleko Remlinger, 22, of Kaneohe died from multiple gunshot wounds, the Honolulu medical examiner confirmed Monday.
Two other men, ages 27 and 31, were also shot. They were taken to the hospital in stable condition.
Police say a man brandishing a rifle approached a group of people in a courtyard and shot approximately 10 rounds into the group.
The early morning ring of gunshots was a rude awakening for visitors and residents.
“Then you heard pop, pop, pop, pop, pop. Oh, he finished them off. I said ‘Aw, that was gunshots,” visitor Tyson Smith recalled.
“I heard a bong, bong then I look, and then two guys run, then I heard bong, bong, bong, bong. Four [shots] and then behind no noise,” said Waikiki resident Jeanie Kuncer.
Patrick Londo was working at one of the clubs in the alley when the shooting happened.
“I was standing right in front of the bar and an African-American man came up and just pointed this big rifle-size gun at this guy and shot him like three times right in the chest. The guy flew backwards. Crazy man. He pointed the gun towards me, and that’s why I like ducked on the ground and hid [in] the rocks over here, and he was just looking back I thought he was going to come into the bar and start shooting in the bar. That’s when I ran out towards Kuhio,” Londo said. “I thought he was going to kill me for a second. Man, it was scary.”
Police say the suspect then fled in a black SUV on Seaside Avenue toward Ala Wai Boulevard.
Smith was in a hotel overlooking the alley where the shooting took place.
“I’m that far up. It was dark. You couldn’t really see anybody, but you definitely knew what had happened,” Smith said. “You seen the actual person like he was laid out for a minute until they came and actually collected him. You heard the commotion. ‘Somebody call 9-1-1.'”
Police and witnesses say there were at least 20 people in the alley during the shooting.
“There were a number of people back there. I don’t think it was a mass shooting in that regards,” said Capt. Walter Ozeki, HPD Criminal Investigation Division. “It doesn’t appear that it was just a mass random shooting.”
Nearly 36 hours later, at around 5 p.m. Sunday, police arrested who they claim is the suspected gunman and two others.
At least 40 officers, including HPD’s Specialized Services Division and Crime Reduction Unit, were involved in the operation.
They honed in on the men at an apartment complex on Young Street near Punahou Street in the morning and ordered a partial evacuation by the afternoon.
“We had some people moved from the building, from the affected floors, above and below, just in case there was a situation. Fortunately nothing happened,” HPD Lt. Gary Sunada said.
“Basically we were napping and the cops knocked on our door and said we have to evacuate because there’s an armed suspect and said we’re going to take you down the road,” Pisa Iiga said. “It was only like 20 minutes and then they were like, ‘Oh you guys can go back,’ and then as soon as we walked back from 7-Eleven, I seen them with the dude handcuffed and putting him in the car.”
Iiga says he had never seen the suspect before.
Police tell us following the arrests, detectives with the Criminal Investigation Division searched the unit for evidence related to the shooting, but have not said what they found.
Authorities could not say if there were any weapons retrieved or if the men that were arrested were residents of the building.
Officers also did not say if they are still looking for more suspects.
The three suspects remain in custody at the main police station. They have not been charged.
Some people we spoke with in Waikiki were so shaken by the shooting that they planned to move hotel rooms. Others remained unfazed.
“This has changed my whole perception of Hawaii,” Tyson said.
“It’s America, you know? You can expect anything,” another visitor said.