Thursday, January 3, 2002

Yesterday, Helen Newman pointed out two bullet holes she and her husband, Charles, found in their house on Violet Street in Kalihi when they returned home on New Year's Day. Detectives will begin investigating today.

Kalihi Valley
gunshots provide
dangerous start
to the New Year

Several residents report
bullet holes piercing their homes

By Leila Fujimori

Kalihi Valley residents are terrified after two houses were hit by bullets on New Year's Eve.

"It's kind of frightening to hear that our neighbors had gunshots," said a 30-year-old woman who said it was her first New Year's Eve in the neighborhood and asked not to be named. "If it happens again, I might just move. I was shocked to hear it happens every year.

"They don't realize what damage they can do. Fortunately, nobody got hurt."

Police Lt. Kathleen Ferreira said the Criminal Investigation Division received the cases yesterday afternoon and will have detectives investigating today.

At least three bullets hit a Nihi Street house, and around the corner, Charles and Helen Newman of Violet Street said two bullets hit their home.

Most of those interviewed yesterday declined to give their names for fear of possible retaliation.

A 69-year-old homeowner on Nihi Street said at least three bullets were fired into an extension of her house, where her granddaughter lives, and one of the three passed into her house.

It appeared five bullets had entered the home, but only three bullets had been found.

"Lucky thing my granddaughter sleep with the two kids in the bedroom," the homeowner said. "Sometimes they sleep in the living room."

The hole created by a bullet that went through the living room window of a house on Nihi Street in Kalihi was about the size of a hand.

Her granddaughter and her two children, ages 1 and 2 1/2, were at home in bed when the bullets fired through the roof and into the ceiling.

One bullet blasted a 4-inch hole in the living-room picture window, and another hit a jalousie, both about 4 feet high. "If they were standing here watching the fireworks in front of the window, they would have been hit," said another male relative, who asked to remain unnamed.

One bullet had passed through a bedroom, which had been vacated by another family member two months ago, into the living room.

Another bullet passed through the house and into the adjoining main house where the homeowner slept and another of her sons was at home. The bullet went through that son's bedroom, into the next room and was found embedded in a book.

They heard gunshots about 11:30 p.m. New Year's Eve, the homeowner's son said, but did not see any damage to the house until the next morning when police were called.

The son said a lot of neighbors are quiet seniors whose homes may have gotten hit, but are probably too afraid to come forward.

Despite being scared, the homeowner said she would never move. "I live this house long time, since 1962," said the retired woman. "We don't bother people. I mind my own business. I do housework and yardwork."

The Newmans say they came home about 1:30 a.m. Jan. 1 and found their bed covered with paint and bits of the ceiling and the wall.

One bullet entered through the outer wall of their bedroom and hit the ceiling. Another bullet hole visible from the outside was on the wall of the attic.

"We go through this every year, but this is the first year something like this happened," Helen Newman said. "We could have been in bed."

Charles Newman, 66, had had several drinks that night and thought it was termites.

"He couldn't understand what I was talking about," she said. "I told him it looked like bullet holes."

"All year round, they're firing guns up here," Charles Newman said. "It's not at wild pigs. Up here it's terrible. Homeowners are firing guns."

"We heard plenty shooting up here," said a Violet Street man who asked not to be named. "Get plenty kids here, too. We wonder which way the bullets were flying."

His father said he found a couple of bullet holes in their roof last year when their roof started leaking, and also found a couple of bullet shells.

"If they're shooting up in the air, they come back down," he said. "I'll check my roof tomorrow," he said. "I'm afraid to stay outside the house on New Year's."

Another neighbor, who asked to remain anonymous, said: "I saw the flashes from the gun -- like three or four times -- sideways, not up in the air." She said it was dark, so she could not see who it was.

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