Newswatch


By Star-Bulletin Staff

Saturday, January 3, 1998




Star-Bulletin file photo
QUEEN OF MAKAHA:Rell Sunn
was one of world's top surfers.



Surfing legend Rell Sunn dies

Legendary female surfer Rell Sunn died at about 9 p.m. last night at her home in Makaha, ending a long bout with cancer.

"I'm happy because she's not suffering any more," said Momi Kekaulana, her aunt.

Sunn was best known as being at one time one of the world's top-rated professional surfers.

She had many affectionate nicknames, among them the "Queen of Makaha" and "Surfing's Sunny Ambassador." Surfing Magazine called her the "Gracious Lady of Surfing."

Sunn was born in Makaha and began surfing when she was 4 years old.

By the time she was 14, she was competing in surf meets and won her first of many contests when she was 16.

She helped organize the Women's Surfing Hui and the Women's Professional Surfing Association. In 1975 she founded the women's professional tour.

She ranked first in the International Professional Surfing ratings briefly in 1982.

An announcement of services is pending.



Hit-run attempt tied to New Year's shootout

Police are patrolling the Mayor Wright Housing project in Kalihi around the clock, worried about repercussions following the fatal shooting there of an 18-year-old man by an off-duty officer on New Year's Day.

The shooting already has been connected to an attempt early this morning to run over two housing residents who exchanged words about the incident with two men, one of whom has been arrested for attempted murder in today's incident.

"We have stepped up manpower because of potential problems and because the officer's family lives there," said Lt. William Kato. The patrols began immediately after a Kalihi Valley Homes resident, identified by the medical examiner as Benedict Manupule, was shot and killed by the officer, who was visiting his mother.

Police said they had planned to return to normal patrol strength but expect to remain longer because of today's developments.

A man and a woman, both 28 and residents of the project, were standing on a sidewalk near the housing project at 12:45 a.m. when two males drove up and started arguing with them, police said.

The suspects drove off but returned five minutes later and exchanged words with them again, in effect asking why they shot Manupule, according to police reports.

They then allegedly attempted to run over the victims, missed and drove away. Police said they were arrested after colliding with another vehicle at Waiakamilo Road and North King Street.

The driver, a 19-year-old McCully man, was arrested on two counts of attempted murder and drunken driving. The passenger, a 17-year-old Kalihi youth, was arrested for first-degree terroristic threatening after being treated for minor injuries at Queen's Hospital.

Gang detail detectives are investigating the incident.

Meanwhile, police yesterday collected more witness statements and searched for a missing handgun from the shooting in the early morning on New Year's Day.

Manupule died at Queen's Hospital from injuries to abdominal organs about 21/2 hours after being shot, said chief medical investigator Frank Quallen.

Internal Affairs is investigating the case since an officer was involved.

According to witnesses, Manupule was armed with a handgun and fired several shots, including one at the officer, who has not been identified by police.

Witnesses also say the officer identified himself as a police officer and twice ordered Manupule to drop his weapon.

"We have over 20 statements from witnesses and are collecting more," said Lt. Greg Poole, who is handling Internal Affairs' criminal investigation. "We'll review them to determine who's reliable and who's not."

Police have submitted evidence for lab testing.

It is unknown if any nitrate residue that could indicate Manupule fired a gun was recovered from his hands or clothing.

Poole says police will subpoena hospital records to determine Manupule's blood-alcohol content or if he was high on drugs. Alcohol was not a factor for the off-duty officer, who does not drink.

Witnesses, who requested anonymity, said that some bystanders began beating Manupule after he was shot and that the off-duty officer rushed up to protect the wounded man. During the confusion, someone walked off with Manupule's gun.



Rep. Say: Furlough government workers

After legislators and some of the state's leading economists brainstormed on ways to reinvigorate Hawaii's economy, House Finance Chairman Calvin Say revealed he is proposing that state workers be furloughed.

Say (D, Palolo) is resurrecting the idea that state workers be given unpaid leaves of absence as a way to cover a projected shortfall of about $200 million for fiscal 1998-99, which begins July 1.

In addition to declining tax revenues forecast by the state Council on Revenues, Say is including in the shortfall the $100 million loss expected if the tax-cut package urged by Gov. Ben Cayetano's economic revitalization task force is adopted by lawmakers.

A furlough proposal surfaced during last year's legislative session but died.



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