A homeless woman who was caught on video attacking a TSA officer may have caused problems at Honolulu International Airport before.
People who work at the airport say the 43-year-old woman was seen earlier near one of the bars. And they say homelessness at the airport is a constant problem.
“We had one the other day, that punched out the TSA,” said Alvin Yamashiroya.
Yamashiroya is talking about the incident that happened Saturday afternoon at this TSA checkpoint at Honolulu International Airport. He works nearby at the Atrium Bar.
“If they have problems, they start screaming and yelling at people,” he said
But the homeless woman shown in this video, did more than just yell. Security asked the woman to put out her cigarette. Then, she punched the female TSA officer. From behind the security line, a man jumped over the rail and took her down. The man who helped, is Justin Rogers, a corporal from the Pinole Police Department in California. He was in Hawaii for a little R and R.
Hawaii’s Department of Public Safety says the female suspect is 43-year-old Wailana Haiola. The day before this incident, Yamashiroya says she was hanging around the bar area. He had to call security for assistance.
“She was walking by, and picking off the food she was watching the table, from the wall, she was watching the people,” he said.
People who work at the airport say homeless people usually go there at night. They sleep in chairs, use the restrooms and hang out in the baggage claim area since it’s air-conditioned.
“Are they a concern? If they do some type of illegal activity then yes, it is a concern and our deputies have had to respond to different situations a little more frequently than they used to,” said Toni Schwartz with DPS.
Fortunately in this situation, someone nearby did respond and was credited with helping to minimize disruptions to travelers.
As for the woman who attacked the TSA officer, she was arrested for assault in the third degree and taken to the hospital. She was released but has not yet been charged.
The TSA officer is recovering from her injuries.