Suspect Micah White was taken to the main police station late yesterday afternoon.

Suspect in Kailua fire
turns himself in

Bystanders also see Micah White
crying at a scenic lookout

A 20-year-old Kailua man who allegedly stabbed his mother and aunt before setting them ablaze turned himself in to police yesterday afternoon.

Police said Micah White used an emergency phone at a scenic point before the Pali Tunnel yesterday to call tunnel personnel, who in turn called police. Dispatchers also received other calls from bystanders at the lookout who saw a despondent man crying. Police said the callers feared that he was going to hurt himself.

Police arrested White for two counts of second-degree attempted murder and one count of first-degree criminal property damage for the Monday blaze. He was held last night at the police headquarters at 801 S. Beretania St.

Before White turned himself in, police scoured Kailua neighborhoods yesterday looking for him -- from where the fire started at his family home at 1214 Kainui Drive to Keolu Hills. According to the suspect's older brother Kawika, White lived in the house with their parents, himself and their 11-year-old brother.

"I still don't believe it," Kawika White said before his brother surrendered. "My mom -- they're still doing some tests. ... She made it through the night with all her burns and wounds."

Asked what he would say to his brother if he saw him, Kawika replied, "Don't let me find him."

White's mother and aunt remain at the Queen's Medical Center, to where they were taken in critical condition. Police said one of the women was upgraded to serious condition but did not know which one.

Workers for Pacific Environmental Corp. wore safety suits yesterday to clean out possible hazardous materials from Monday's house fire at 1214 Kainui Drive in Kailua.

The 48-year-old mother and 58-year-old aunt, who was visiting from the North Shore, were in the house along with Micah White about 5:30 p.m. Monday, police said.

Both women escaped from the house with severe burns. While being tended by emergency medical crews, they said a relative had intentionally started the fire during an argument and fled, police said.

A Fire Department source said both women had been doused with a flammable liquid and set ablaze. Police homicide Lt. David Kamai could not confirm that information, however. He said only that detectives "need to question him (White) as part of the investigation."

As of yesterday, Kamai said police still had not gained entry into the Whites' home because chlorine and other chemicals being stored there created a health hazard when they burned along with the house. The suspect's father, Samuel White III, is one of the owners of Blue Champagne Pool & Spa on Keawe Street, a store operated by Pool Tech Inc., which sells and repairs swimming pools, spas and equipment.

The fumes from the fire caused police to evacuate eight nearby homes. Police also said about 15 officers working at the scene filed for workers' compensation yesterday because of irritation to their throats and lungs.

Workers from Pacific Environmental Corp. removed hazardous materials from the home yesterday. Once police are given the OK, Kamai said, investigators would execute a search warrant in the home.

The fire gutted the Whites' home, causing an estimated $310,000 in damage, in addition to $60,000 in damage to their next-door neighbor's home at 1206 Kainui Drive. Yesterday morning, neighbors said chemical fumes were lingering.

According to state records, White is awaiting trial May 10 for a criminal trespassing case at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. A criminal complaint states that on Feb. 19, White refused to leave when ordered to by UH campus security. He also wouldn't give them his name or other identification.

White, who is not a student or associated with the university, apparently had been yelling and was causing a disturbance near the student dorms about 3 a.m., said Jim Manke, university spokesman.

Police were called and White refused their orders to leave, so they arrested him, Manke said. White was suspected of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time, Manke said.

He pleaded not guilty to first-degree trespassing on March 25. Prosecutors dismissed a second count of resisting arrest by using or threatening to use force against a peace officer.

Reporter Debra Barayuga contributed to this report.


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