Student from isles
slain in Los Angeles

Los Angeles police detectives are investigating the shooting death of former Hawaii resident Maxwell Hazlett, 21, who was found on a downtown Los Angeles street early Saturday morning.

Maxwell Hazlett: He was majoring in economics and Chinese at USC, his father says

"No arrests have been made, but we're following up on several leads. We're working 24-7," said Los Angeles police Detective Mario Mota, one of two detectives assigned to the case.

Mota would not comment on a possible motive for the shooting of the University of Southern California junior.

Hazlett's body was found at 5:35 a.m. at Second and Emerald streets in the Rampart area of downtown Los Angeles, within a mile of Hazlett's apartment at The Promenade towers on South Figueroa Street, Mota said.

Hazlett was pronounced dead at the scene by Los Angeles City paramedics, police said.

Because no identification was on Hazlett's body when police found it, his parents, Honolulu attorney Mark Hazlett and New Zealand resident Louise Woodcock Hazlett, didn't learn of their son's death until Monday.

Yesterday, Mark Hazlett was responding to condolence calls and trying to contact Max's friends from the Punahou class of 2001, who he said are "mostly away in college."

Mark Hazlett said he planned to fly to Los Angeles today, where he will talk to police and arrange for a memorial service on the USC campus.

Max Hazlett spent his freshman year on campus, then lived in "another apartment complex with a similarly heavy percentage of USC students, the Medici, without incident," Mark Hazlett said yesterday in an e-mail interview. "He was told that downtown was safer than the areas closer to campus."

Hazlett, who was majoring in economics and Chinese language, could speak German and Spanish and was studying Mandarin. He spent last summer in China and was planning to study in Taipei this fall, his father said.

"He wanted to get a graduate degree from a Chinese or Taiwanese university -- possibly after that, law or business school in the U.S. or an academic career," Mark Hazlett said. "He had an interest in history and economics, as well as languages, and he admired his uncle, Tim Bresnahan, who is the chairman of the Stanford Economics Department and started as a German major."

At Punahou, "teachers across disciplines appreciated Max's enthusiasm, his eagerness to contribute to discussions and his sincere attention to his academic responsibilities," said Lynne Tsuda, his Punahou dean.

During high school, Hazlett participated in community service projects of the Save the Earth club, played guitar, practiced jujitsu, paddled outrigger canoes with a community club and ran track for Punahou, the school said.

"Max was one of the most intellectually mature, animated and diligent students. ... I would describe him as a Renaissance man," one of his former teachers told Tsuda.

A statement from Laurel Bowers Husain, Punahou director of development and communications, called Hazlett "an engaging and diligent student, who was a good friend and classmate. ... Our aloha goes out to his family as they cope with his sudden loss."

During his first year at USC, Hazlett was a volunteer reading tutor at a public school in Watts, his father said. Hazlett attended Holy Nativity School before starting sixth-grade at Punahou, he added.

"Max had unfailing good humor and wit, a concern for the well-being of others, academic promise and an infectious enthusiasm for life," his father said. "I am grateful for the time he spent with us."

Hazlett is also survived by a 26-year-old sister, Virginia (Ginnie); his stepmother, Dorothy; a stepbrother, Mark, a stepsister, Deborah H. Chun; and a niece, Summer Pua'ena Chun.

A memorial service is being arranged on the USC campus for Saturday; a service at Punahou School is being planned for May 29.

Other arrangements are pending, Mark Hazlett said.

Anyone with information that might help Los Angeles police with the case can call (213) 485-4061.


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