Witnesses said tensions were high between two Hawaii men on the bus ride to a Maui mall on Sunday. But they didn’t know it would end in murder charges.
Eduardo Alejandro Cerezo, 35, became agitated when he boarded the bus and noticed that another man — Kumulipo Sylva, 23 — was staring at him from the front of the bus around 2 p.m. Sunday, witnesses told police. As Maui Bus #40 made its way to the Queen Kaahumanu Center mall, witnesses said Cerezo “taunted Sylva the entire ride,” Maui Now reports.
Once the bus arrived at the mall, Cerezo and a friend got off — and Sylva challenged Cerezo to a fight, the friend told police. Cerezo declined to fight, the friend said, and instead walked off, KHON reports.
But as Cerezo went into a public restroom right outside of the Macy’s store at the shopping center, Sylva followed, witnesses told police. Sylva was holding a black machete, the TV station reports.
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“You’re not talking any s--- now?” Sylva told Cerezo as he held the weapon, witnesses said. Cerezo responded by saying that he didn’t have any problems with Sylva and that he had a family, Maui Now reports.
That didn’t end the confrontation, though.
“I was sent to end you,” Sylva told Cerezo, according to police. Then Sylva swung the machete at Cerezo, slashing his victim’s throat, Hawaii News Now reports.
During the machete attack, a witness in the bathroom told police he “heard what sounded like a water balloon dropping on the floor,” Hawaii News Now reports. Sylva returned the bloody machete to his backpack and looked at the witness, telling him that “believe it or not, it was a demon,” according to court documents.
Cerezo was pronounced dead at the crime scene just after 3 p.m., the Honolulu Star Advertiser reports. Sylva, the alleged attacker, has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with Cerezo’s death. He’s being held on $500,000 bail.
Sylva had tried to escape the crime scene, police said, but a group of bystanders spotted him at the Kahului Community Center Park and detained him until police could come and arrest him, KHON reports.
There have been two other stabbings at the same shopping center in recent years, the TV station reports. Both of those incidents — in 2011 and 2012 — occurred in mall bathrooms as well.
“In order to prevent these things from happening in the future, we really need to make sure that the Queen Kaahumanu Center looks into securing more of the isolated areas, specifically the bathroom areas,” Councilman Don Guzman told the TV station.
Sylva admitted to the machete attack and said he carried out the attack against Cerezo “because he was a demon,” according to police. Sylva also told authorities where he had hid the machete. Covered in dirt and brush, the weapon was recovered in the park where Sylva was apprehended, Maui Now reports.