Silkie Kawahakui, right, hugged her sister Jasmine Tomei outside the Waialua home where their 19-year-old brother Thomas "T.K." Kawahakui was shot and killed yesterday morning. Their father, Thomas Kawahakui, left, looked on. Police arrested the suspect and charged him with second-degree murder.

19-year-old is arrested
in Waialua killing

The victim, also 19, and suspect
were longtime friends

The two 19-year-olds were longtime friends and had graduated from high school in the same class. Both grew up on the same street.

But yesterday morning, something went terribly wrong between the two. Now, the family of one of the young men faces a burial while the family of the other, likely a court trial.

Police said that about 8:39 a.m. yesterday, the suspect fatally shot Thomas "T.K." Kawahakui between three to five times after an argument that started with a telephone conversation. The shooting took place outside the suspect's home at 66-039 Waialua Beach Road, where his girlfriend and child were staying.

After the shooting, the families of the two men converged on the scene and tried to give each other strength and make peace.

"When I first got the news, I was shocked," said Kawahakui's father, whose first name is also Thomas.

The victim's cousin, Kaala Kawahakui, added, "They knew each other from childhood. They were friends. They were classmates since elementary."

The argument between the suspect and Kawahakui was fueled "in a series of phone calls" between the two yesterday morning, Police Lt. Bill Kato said. About 8 a.m., Kawahakui was dropped off at the suspect's house by a friend, at which point the victim and suspect began to argue.

Yelling gave way to a fistfight on the suspect's front lawn until the victim was able to break away and tried to run for it, Kato said. That is when the suspect allegedly ran in his house, got a rifle and fatally shot Kawahakui.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. The suspect was arrested and faces a second-degree murder charge.

Police are still investigating what the two were arguing about, Kato said.

Kawahakui and the suspect graduated together from Waialua High School last year. Family members remembered the two as good friends though not very close.

The victim's parents, siblings and cousins gathered yesterday in the small cul-de-sac in Waialua where the suspect lives to get news from police and lend support to each other.

They brought up fond memories of a man who worked hard, loved family and was always making a joke.

"My dad's only son, my kids' only uncle, we don't have him anymore," said Jasmine Tomei, Kawahakui's sister. "It's not something you can put words to. It's my younger brother. I helped raise him."

Tomei said Kawahakui "had a good heart" and rarely got into trouble. He worked in construction and was trying to expand a fishing operation on the side.

Early yesterday, Kawahakui had been hanging out at Haleiwa Beach Park with his cousin Kaala and other friends. Kaala Kawahakui said his cousin did not seem nervous or frustrated.

When Thomas Kawahakui left with a friend, he told his cousin he was going home. Kaala Kawahakui responded with, "No get in any trouble."

The next stop Kawahakui made was at an ATM in Waialua, the victim's father said.

Shortly afterward, just about 7:30 a.m., Thomas Kawahakui called his son. The two made plans to go fishing later in the day. The victim also told his father he was headed home.

And at the end of the conversation, Kawahakui said, "He told me he loved me."

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