Downtown rattled after shooting death
A fatal shooting has residents blaming prostitution for an increase in violence
Kari Vierra says she has become a prisoner in her Kukui Gardens apartment at night, even giving up a two-block walk to Zippy's, because a 24-year-old man was recently shot and killed near Chinatown.
"I can't leave my home at night," said Vierra, 20, a city Summer Fun leader, as she supervised a group of children yesterday playing dodgeball at Beretania Community Park, three blocks from the shooting Saturday night.
"It's kinda freaky. We hear about people getting beaten up, but never a shooting," she said.
Vierra and some residents remain on edge five days after the 24-year-old man, identified as Daniel Truelove, was gunned down near Chinatown just before midnight Saturday.
The shooting occurred on Nuuanu Avenue near Kukui Street near residential high-rises occupied by at least 5,000 residents.
Police said the shooting stemmed from an argument between Truelove's brother, a known pimp, and a prostitute who worked for another pimp.
After the argument, the prostitute allegedly told her pimp, the suspect, what had happened. The suspect then allegedly came looking for Truelove's brother and shot at Truelove and his brother four to six times, according to investigators.
Three weeks earlier, another incident involving a prostitute occurred on Kukui Street behind Pali Longs Drug Store, near the shooting scene. A 33-year-old Kalihi man allegedly punched the 19-year-old prostitute multiple times, breaking her jaw after she refused his offer to pay her for sexual favors.
Some residents said prostitution on Kukui Street has worsened in recent months. Kukui Street is part of the Kalihi-Palama/Chinatown Weed and Seed site to "weed out" illegal drug and related activities.
Some believe the recent shooting is linked to a new group of prostitutes frequenting Kukui Street. "With new girls, there's new pimps," said 18-year-old Chaseton Chang, another Summer Fun leader and area resident.
Dolores Mollring, member of the Downtown Neighborhood Board and head of the area's citizens patrol, said that if police arrest the clientele of prostitutes, then the problem would cease. "Therein lies the whole problem. Take the 'Johns' away and the streets are free from prostitution," Mollring said.
Alden Kamaunu, general manager of Kukui Plaza, said some residents are nonchalant about the shooting while others are bothered by it.
Kamaunu said they plan to hold a community meeting shortly to include area lawmakers and representatives from Pali Longs, Safeway and other businesses to address the issue.
For years, prostitution has existed along Kukui Street, but the shooting has "rattled" the problem, he said.
"Obviously, it's something that we can't ignore now. There's now a death. Unfortunately, it took that situation to take it to the forefront," Kamaunu said.
Star-Bulletin reporter Rod Antone contributed to this report.