Suspect in gruesome mall murder told victim: 'I was sent to end you'

(Image: Maui 24/7)
(Image: Maui 24/7)
(Image: Maui 24/7)
(Image: Maui 24/7)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - The 23-year-old accused in a fatal machete attack at a Maui mall Sunday told the victim "I was sent to end you" before slashing his throat, court documents said.

Police also said that the suspect later admitted to the killing, saying he attacked the victim "because he was a demon."

Court documents say the 35-year-old victim and the suspect, Kumulipo Iwa Sylva, first encountered each other on a Maui bus about 2 p.m. Sunday. Sylva was seated at the front of the bus and that angered the victim, Eduardo Alejandro Cerezo, who "got upset and taunted him ... the entire bus ride."

When the bus stopped at Queen Kaahumanu Shopping Center, Sylva, Cerezo and a third man, Kyle Keoho, got off. Keoho told police Sylva challenged the victim to a fight, but Cerezo declined and walked away.

That's when Sylva allegedly followed Cerezo into a restroom outside the men's department at Macy's and pulled out a machete.

"You're not talking any s**t now?" Sylva reportedly told Cerezo, according to the court documents.

The suspect then told the victim, "I was sent to end you."

Witnesses told police that Cerezo pleaded for his life, saying he had a family, but Sylva reportedly appeared unmoved. One of the witnesses also told police that the suspect said, "I've been sending demons to the moon."

Shortly afterward, Sylva allegedly swung a machete at the victim, slashing his throat.

A witness who was in the bathroom said he "heard what sounded like a water balloon dropping on the floor" after the gruesome attack. The suspect then allegedly looked at the witness, put the bloodied machete back into his backpack, and said, "believe it or not, it was a demon," court documents said.

Cerezo was taken to Maui Memorial Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Sylva allegedly fled from the scene, but was later caught.

Police said on Monday, Sylva admitted to killing Cerezo "with a machete because he was a demon," court documents said. He also told officers where they could find the murder weapon.

The suspect has charged with second-degree murder and remains in police custody on $500,000 bail.

At a preliminary hearing Tuesday, Sylva appeared before a judge via video-conference. He appeared to be listening to the judge, but did not say anything as he stood next to his lawyer.

This story will be updated. 

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