Community mourns a friendly ‘protector’ who was fatally shot while doing his job

Long-time neighbor, Nathan Rhodes said 57-year-old Phil Huth was a fixture of the community now shaken by his loss.
Published: Dec. 5, 2022 at 11:24 PM HST

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - There’s a growing memorial at an Ewa Beach housing complex parking lot, where a resident manager was fatally shot last week.

Phil Huth, 57, is being remembered as a fixture of a community now shaken by his loss.

“His absence is truly felt around the community,” said longtime neighbor Nathan Rhodes.

“He always had a great smile, he was very friendly with the residents and all the neighbors, but he also was kind of like a protector of the area that we’re in.”

Rhodes said Huth worked as the resident manager at Palm Villas townhouse complex for 15 years.

It was also where Huth and his family called home.

“So he did a great job as a resident manager, not only to ensure that things were clean around the neighborhood, but that they were safe,” said Rhodes. “And that’s exactly what we believe he was doing the day that he was so tragically taken away from us.”

Rhodes recalled the moment he saw Phil just before shots rang out.

“Twenty minutes prior to getting into my car, right after I said, ‘Make sure you have a fantastic day, Phil’ and then went to work,” said Rhodes. “And as soon as I got there it happened.”

Huth was shot at 8:30 Thursday morning.

Witnesses said they heard two men arguing before multiple gunshots went off.

Patrick Tuputala, 34, was seen driving away in his girlfriend’s car, police said. That night, he turned himself in and he remains behind bars on murder and firearms charges.

According to court documents, Tuputala told his girlfriend he had killed Huth.

She thought Tuputala was joking because he had been depressed and had anxiety for the past few months.

Hawaii News Now learned Tuputala was charged a few years ago with dealing drugs, but the case was dismissed for taking too much time.

Residents say Tuputala lived in the complex.

Huth leaves behind a wife, Vanessa, and son, Haven, a senior in high school.

Rhodes said Huth was very close to his son.

“I’ll miss seeing the son and Phil around the neighborhood just kind of doing their thing.”

Rhodes organized a GoFundMe for Huth’s family.