A gunman shot and killed seven people at a Nimitz Highway office this morning in Hawaii's worst mass murder ever.
A man believed to be Bryan K. Uyesugi, 40, also known as "Byran," arrived at the Xerox office at 1200 N. Nimitz Highway shortly after 8 a.m., went to the second floor and proceeded to shoot employees, police said.
After the shooting, the man fled in a van. By mid-morning, police had him surrounded near the Hawaii Nature Center in Makiki.
Two schools had classes on field trips near the nature center at the time the suspect arrived. Iliahi Elementary had a group of about 45 students in the center itself, and Hickam Elementary had a group of 60 fourth-graders plus 12 adults on a picnic on Tantalus mountain, above the center. Police and school officials, in contact with the groups via cellular telephone, said they were safe and secure.
Uyesugi, of 2835 Easy St., is a Xerox employee. His father, Hiro Uyesugi, said he saw his son this morning, and there was no indication that anything was wrong. "He must have got fired. I don't know. He never said anything this morning," Hiro Uyesugi said.
Police said Bryan Uyesugi was the registered owner of 17 guns, including a 9mm handgun believed to have been used in this morning's shooting. Uyesugi was turned down for a firearms permit in January 1994, after he was arrested for criminal property damage at work, said police Sgt. John Kamai. That arrest followed an argument with co-workers at Xerox, Kamai said.
After today's shooting, employees were evacuated from the company's sales office at 700 Bishop St. Later, streets were closed in Makiki Heights after the suspect was spotted in the area.
Dozens of police swarmed the Xerox office on Nimitz Highway while crisis counselors comforted company employees at the Eagle Cafe next door.
A two-block stretch of Ewa-bound Nimitz Highway from Alakawa to Waiakamilo Road was closed, and The bumper-to-bumper traffic was being rerouted to Dillingham.
At the State Capitol, sheriff's deputies blocked street-level access to the five-story building at 9:30 a.m. today as a precaution after this morning's shooting. Sheriff deputies locked street-level stairway doors and shut down elevators in the building, limiting access to the underground parking garage entrance, where deputies stand guard. Gov. Ben Cayetano canceled a scheduled proclamation signing this morning.
Bystander Christine Conn said her neighbor had given her a ride into the city. After dropping off Conn, the woman entered the Xerox building to see her son, a Xerox employee.
"I'm praying to God she's not in there and her son's not one of the victims," said Conn.
The seven people who were killed in the shooting were believed to be all men. No ages or identities were available at press time.
Edith Nakamura, a parking attendant for Xerox and other businesses, said she was going to work when she saw Uyesugi headed toward town. He had just left the building. "He wasn't speeding. He just drove past calmly," said Nakamura. He was driving a green Ford Windstar company van, she said.
"I'm shook up, very shook up," said Nakamura. I know a lot of people there, she said.
Mayor Jeremy Harris gave a statement from the scene of the shootings this morning.
"This is tragedy," Harris said. "We live in the safest city in the United States. A mass murder like this is a shock to everybody." "It shows this violence permeates in the entire culture."
Xerox Corp. headquarters in Rochester, N.Y., issued a statement this morning saying the company's foremost concern is for the safety and security of its employees.
"Xerox CEO Rick Thoman has been informed of the situation and expressed his deep concern for the victims and their families, and pledged the highest level of support that can be offered," the statement said. The Honolulu offices remained closed late this morning. Xerox said the company was cooperating with Honolulu police.
Today's slaying is the worst mass murder in Hawaii history.
Hawaii's most notorious previous mass murders took place Aug. 25, 1991, when Orlando Ganal Sr. shot his wife's parents in a jealous rage and then torched the Kailua home where his wife's lover lived. Five people died, including two children.
One of the longest stand-offs with police occurred Feb. 6, 1996, when John Miranda held police at bay with his hand duct-taped to a semi-automatic shotgun that he held to a hostage's head. Miranda was cut down by police sharpshooters after a six-hour siege.
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Rick Daysog contributed to this report.