80-year-old with explosives arsenal called a 'good guy,' normal - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

80-year-old with explosives arsenal called a 'good guy,' normal

(Image: Hawaii News Now) (Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now) (Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now) (Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now) (Image: Hawaii News Now)
KALIHI (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The 80-year-old Kalihi man whose cache of grenades and pipe bombs spurred a major evacuation this weekend appeared normal but apparently had significant mental health issues, his neighbors said Tuesday.

On Sunday, hundreds were evacuated from a Kalihi neighborhood after Walter Nakamatsu's relatives found the weapons while cleaning out his apartment.

The Honolulu Medical Examiner said Nakamatsu committed suicide two weeks ago. He was found in the apartment.

His neighbors told Hawaii News Now that they're still in shock over the explosives found in the apartment complex.

"Walter is a good guy, that's all I know about him," said friend Belen L. Domingo. "Because we always see each other every day three times a day when we go out and walk."

Domingo said her friend seemed perfectly normal, but he was clearly troubled.

Nakamatsu's brother was clearing out his belongings in the apartment when he found three military hand grenades, more than three dozen operational pipe bombs, guns and ammunition, police said.

Those who knew the 80-year-old are in disbelief.

"He says hi to me, but he had health issues," said resident manager Protacio Sapanza. "Back pain and sometimes he stayed down here and I had to help him up, going up there sometimes."

Law enforcement expert Tommy Aiu said the suicide aspect adds a whole new dimension to the story.

"Someone who is mentally unstable and in possession of these types of weapons or ordnance could have created a totally dangerous situation for not only the individuals who lived in the condominium or apartment, but for everyone in this city," he said.

The evacuation order for the six-story building on Pohaku Street was issued about 1:30 p.m., and it took authorities nearly seven hours to call the all clear.

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