By JOHN BURNETT
Tribune-Herald staff writer
A friend of a mother and daughter who were shot to death in their Waiakea Houselots home late Monday night described them as “very kind people and willing to help anybody.”
“It was a real shock to me. It’s still a shock to me,” Steve Pavao said about the slayings of Elaine Ahu, 74, and her daughter, Rhonda Lynn Alohalani Ahu, 45. “I don’t think either one of them deserved to die such a violent death. It’s just tragic.”
Meanwhile, Wednesday evening at 6:30 p.m., detectives charged 34-year-old Sean Ivan Masa Matsumoto, Ahu’s boyfriend, in connection with the shootings after conferring with prosecutors. He was charged with first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder, three counts of use of a firearm in commission of a separate felony, and first-degree reckless endangering. He was being held without bail in the police cellblock pending his initial court appearance today.
Police arrested Matsumoto at the scene shortly after the shooting. They also say they recovered a firearm at the 612 Leilani St. home.
“Elaine babysat my kids when they were little,” said Pavao, executive director of the Brantley Center, a social services agency in Honokaa. “Over the years, she babysat a lot of kids and a lot of those kids became attached to her. She was a second mom to a lot of those kids when they were little. She had health problems over the years, so Rhonda was basically her caregiver for a number of years. Elaine had a heart attack a number of years ago.”
Pavao said that Elaine Ahu was a widow, described her as “pretty much of a home person” and that the Ahus “were a very close-knit family and spent a lot of time together.”
Police said that two children were in the home and may have witnessed the shooting. Pavao said that the older child is Rhonda Ahu’s daughter from a previous relationship and that the younger child is Rhonda Ahu’s and Matsumoto’s son. Police said that both children are in the care of family members.
“She (Rhonda) was taking care of her mom and trying to be a good mom, herself,” Pavao said. “It’s a very difficult time; nobody expected this at all.”
Police Lt. Greg Esteban of the Criminal Investigations Section said Wednesday that autopsies on both women are scheduled for Friday morning.
Police asked that anyone with information on the case call Detective Ernest Matsumoto at 961-2379 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Detective Joel Field at 961-2381 or email at email@example.com.