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Family of man killed in mall bathroom files wrongful death lawsuit

News Source: Maui News

The family of Eduardo Alejandro Cerezo, who was killed in a machete attack at Queen Ka’ahumanu Center in 2018, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the mall’s owner, alleging inadequate security measures that led to his death. The suit alleges that the mall owner and other defendants failed to intervene when Kumulipo Sylva, the perpetrator, threatened Cerezo prior to the attack.

Sylva, found guilty of manslaughter in a jury trial, had a history of erratic behavior, including threatening gestures and carrying a machete, which he used to fatally strike Cerezo. Despite threats made by Sylva, no security or police intervention occurred, even after a bus driver asked Cerezo and his friend if they were okay following the initial confrontation.

The lawsuit highlights past violent incidents at the mall, including two previous stabbings in the same bathroom where Cerezo was attacked, and alleges that the mall had not implemented adequate security measures despite prior incidents. The complaint also mentions an increase in security measures announced by the mall after other violent events in early 2020.

The lawsuit names multiple defendants, including the mall’s owner, property manager, security services provider, and Maui County, which operates the Maui Bus and its hub at the mall. It seeks unspecified damages for Cerezo’s wrongful death.

Attorney Jeffrey Foster, representing Cerezo’s family, emphasized the need for accountability and improvements in the mall’s security to prevent future incidents. The defendants declined to comment on the pending litigation.

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