Authorities investigate hours-long standoff that forced Kahala hotel into lockdown

Updated: Apr. 12, 2021 at 10:40 AM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Authorities continue to investigate an hours-long standoff that forced the Kahala Hotel and Resort into lockdown on Saturday.

The Honolulu Medical Examiner’s Office identified the man as Russel Cruz, of Kailua.

Officials said Cruz barricaded himself in his fourth-floor room at the hotel.

It all started at about 5:30 p.m. when sources say a woman notified security at the Kahala Hotel that her husband was suicidal.

During a welfare check, the 40-year-old suspect allegedly fired a shot through the door.

Sources say no one was hurt and police quickly moved to secure the property, which left many in the hotel wondering what was going on.

[Read more: Armed barricade, lockdown of guests and staff at Kahala resort ends after nearly 10 hours]

Darcy Belaras, of Ewa Beach, was taking a smoke break right outside the Kahala Hotel and Resort when things began to unfold.

“HPD told me and my brother in law to come by them over there by the wall so that’s what we did,” said Belaras.

Belaras returned to the lobby, but said he was unable to go to his wife and kids, who were in their hotel room on the third floor.

“Couldn’t do nothing because they weren’t going break for anybody,” said Belaras. “So we have to just deal with it.”

The suspect was in his hotel room on the fourth floor.

All guests there were evacuated. Meanwhile, former federal agent and law enforcement officer Tommy Aiu was having dinner with his family at the Plumeria Beach House in the hotel.

“And then police came in, like, half a dozen long guns fully geared up,” said Aiu.

He and his family were among people who stayed in the ballroom.

“The police took up static points along the beach and along the pool area, facing the fourth floor and everyone was very compliant,” said Aiu. “People went into the ballroom, no fuss, no problems.”

“And then the hotel brought in great food and water and blankets for everyone, pillows for people to lie down because it was almost seven hours before we even got out of there,” added Aiu.

Sources say while officers were attempting to communicate with the suspect, two more shots were fired through the door. The bullets avoided hitting anyone.

At about 3:30 a.m. Sunday, the SWAT team made entry into the room using a robot and found the suspect.

He had an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The Kahala Hotel and Resort issued a statement Monday, saying it’s focused on supporting guests and employees following Saturday’s incident.

Hawaii News Now reached out to the Navy who confirmed the man who died was a sailor assigned to the Pacific Submarine Force.

This is the second sailor who died in the last four weeks on Oahu from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Copyright 2021 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.