Wednesday, December 12, 2001

A policeman walked Makiki Heights residents Martha Ramirez and her daughter, Maria, up Round Top Drive last night. They were among residents ushered to safety as police cordoned off the area during the hostage situation.

6-hour Makiki
standoff ends

The suspect breaks into an
elderly couple's home and
won't let them leave

By Rod Antone

Honolulu police ended a six-hour hostage situation peacefully last night by "stealthily" entering a Round Top Drive home where a Hawaii Kai man allegedly kept an elderly couple against their will.

Police said the situation started when the 21-year-old suspect abandoned the stolen vehicle in which police spotted him around 2 p.m. and broke into the couple's home.

"Certainly the safety of the people involved is foremost on our minds," said Specialized Services Division Capt. Doug Miller.

"There is always a chance that something can go wrong anytime someone is being held against their will."

Police entered the home located on the 2300 block of Round Top Drive shortly before 8 p.m.

The decision was made just after the 70-year-old female hostage was released by the suspect at 7:40 p.m.

Miller said information provided to them from the woman helped police to make the call to not wait any longer, though he would not say what that information was.

Police sources said the male hostage, who is about 80 years old, informed the suspect that he was feeling dizzy and/or faint.

"Getting information from her was a factor in the action we took," said Miller.

Prior to her release, relatives of the couple had arrived at the scene and provided diagrams of the house, police said.

Miller said neither the hostages nor the suspect was injured during the police operation.

Miller said the suspect appeared to have held the hostages at knifepoint, though it is possible that other weapons may be recovered at the scene.

Police arrested the suspect for kidnapping, terroristic threatening and auto theft.

Until the situation was resolved, police located at the corner of Makiki Street and Makiki Heights Drive turned all Round Top-bound motorists around.

Ruth Lin, who lives off Round Top Drive, said the roadblocks prevented her 86-year-old mother from coming home from adult day care. "They wouldn't let the Handi-Van up here so she had to stay (overnight) with my aunt," she said.

"This area was completely blocked off in and out," said area resident Beverly Amjadi. She, her husband and their daughter couldn't get home. They contacted each other by cell phone and stayed at a friend's Nuuanu home until just before 10 p.m.

"I think we were so happy just to get home ... it was very inconvenient, I had groceries in the car," she said.

Lin said police did a good job answering people's questions and calming down irate drivers. "They were really on top of that," she said.

Police opened the roads at about 9:15 p.m.

Reporter Lisa Asato contributed to this story.

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