HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Police are investigating whether the suspect in Wednesday's meat cleaver attack at a Downtown Honolulu park was acting in self-defense. An off-duty deputy sheriff from Kansas is being credited for stopping the assault.
Mark Hunsaker splits his time between Kansas and Hawaii. He's a firearms and taser instructor in Kansas and has an entirely different job when he's in Honolulu.
They're not the usual things you find in an accountant's office -- law enforcement certificates, badges and sheriff's department photos. But Honolulu CPA Mark Hunsaker is also employed as a deputy sheriff in Chautauqua County, Kansas, and relied on his training to calm two armed men involved in a dispute at Kamamalu Park Wednesday.
"I was fairly comfortable knowing that I had resources at my disposal to protect myself and others," he said.
Investigators say Eldridge Kahoano, 32, struck a 41-year-old man on the back of the head with a meat cleaver. Witnesses say the victim was armed with a hammer at the time.
Hunsaker had just finished eating lunch near the park when he saw the commotion.
"I went across the street," he recalled. "I pulled the badge off of my belt, held my badge up just to give an officer presence to try to get the fight to stop. It did stop."
The victim suffered a cut to his head. We were there as Hunsaker gave his statement to an HPD detective over the phone.
"He showed me the wound on the back of his head," he told the detective. "Then he started to go back with the hammer, back towards the guy with the meat cleaver."
The deputy sheriff, who always carries his gun while off-duty, says he ordered the man with the hammer to stop, which he did, and called 911. He stayed behind a four-foot rock wall until police officers arrived, then helped them detain the suspect.
It wasn't the first time he had to draw his weapon while off-duty.
He was in Magnum Firearms six weeks ago, when a convicted felon walked in with a gun and attempted to purchase ammunition. Hunsaker says he took the suspect down, cuffed him and waited for officers to arrive.
"I'm not there to enforce laws," he said. "I'm in there to stop great bodily harm or death."
The accountant works about one week a month for the sheriff's department in Kansas. He says the federal Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act allows him to carry a concealed weapon while off duty.
"We're still at risk for our personal safety, even though we're off duty," he said.
Kahoano was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder. He has not been charged.