Two police officers were shot and killed after a gunman opened fire in Honolulu on Sunday afternoon, officials said.
The Honolulu mayor’s office confirmed the two fatalities and issued a statement on Twitter offering “deepest condolences to the family and friends of the two officers as well as the entire Honolulu Police Department.”
A police spokesman, John McCarthy, did not offer additional details about what led to the shooting.
Patricia Cooper, 71, said the police had ordered her and her family to evacuate after the gunman set the house he was in on fire and the blaze spread to two other houses. She said she was not sure if the police had anyone in custody.
“Right now there’s only one house separating us from the fire so we were told to evacuate,” she said. “They can’t let the fire trucks in because of an active shooter situation, so that’s kind of where we are now.”
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said on Twitter that it was sending agents to the scene.
Ms. Cooper described the neighborhood as quiet, friendly and relatively affluent, and said it is a short distance from a beach that is a popular surfing spot.
Jason Bajor, 40, said he was out for a walk around 9:30 a.m. local time when a “massive number” of police vehicles, fire trucks and ambulances drove by him toward the home he was renting for a couple of weeks.
As he got closer, he saw a swarm of police officers with their guns drawn, telling onlookers to move away.
People were standing in the nearby park and others were standing on roofs trying to see what was happening, he said.
Mr. Bajor said he noticed dark smoke coming from the house around 9:45 a.m. and then he heard more gunshots. It sounded like ammunition going off inside the house, he said.
“When the smoke from the house got darker, the fear started to kick in,” Mr. Bajor said. “We went back to our house where we were staying, gathered our stuff and left the neighborhood.”
Mr. Bajor described the neighborhood as a collection of bungalows and craftsman-style homes occupied by a mixture of renters and long-term homeowners. The neighborhood is “not a cheap place to stay,” he said.
Most homes in the neighborhood where the shooting took place sell for at least $2 million, but that has not insulated the area from the island’s homeless problem, said David E. Buck, the principal broker at Harcourts Island Real Estate.
“I thought it was another home invasion,” Mr. Buck said on Sunday. “They’re breaking into homes and the city is not doing enough to stop it.”
Mr. Buck said many of the bungalows on that part of Hibiscus Drive were built in the 1920s and 1930s, and some of them have been designated as historically significant. The lots are 4,000 to 5,000 square feet and are a few blocks from the beach, he said. “They’re little treasures,” he said of the bungalows.
Neil Vigdor contributed reporting.
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