Community on edge after explosive device found at Kahuku park

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The Honolulu Police Department activated their bomb squad unit four times this week. Two of those cases happened on Thursday. One of the threats put two Kahuku schools on lockdown.

In the three other bomb scares, the device in question turned out to be nothing serious, but the item found at Kahuku District Park early Thursday morning had the potential to do damage.

The park became a crime scene after a city employee spotted something out of place.

“Saw gates closing and doors closing and just police closing up roads. It was crazy,” parent Neva Fotu said.

Honolulu Police evacuated the area as Kahuku Elementary and nearby High School went on lockdown.

“They closed all the windows and the doors and told no one to open them,” Kahuku High School student Maika Hawelu-Kim said.

“I’m glad, but at the same time, I’m panicked. I live right across the street. I wonder why I can’t just go pick up one child, but they did take the steps they needed to keep the kids safe,” Fotu said.

Residents were also told to stay back and nearby traffic re-routed as HPD’s Specialized Services Division moved in. Their main focus was on a suspicious device inside a brown box.

“I’m going crazy thinking of all the bomb threats on the mainland,” Fotu said.

A robot maneuvered in to inspect the device and then moved on to inspect other areas of the park.

“They were looking for other devices that could be in the area, they checked little area that a device could be hidden,” HPD Lt. Wayne Wong said.

After being given the okay, HPD’s Scientific Investigation Section went over the device piece by piece.

Police say it was an explosive device that could have started a fire. KHON2 crews saw what looked like a glass bottle, covered in camouflage and wrapped with black electrical tape. It also appeared to have an odor. KHON2 was told it was of gasoline or diesel.

“The device was taken into evidence and a reckless endangering case was initiated,” Lt. Wong said.

An “all clear” was given just before 11 a.m. and schools lifted their lockdown.

“Terrible. They need to find out who did this and give them stiff penalty because these are our children. We need to keep them safe,” parent Romona Moses said.

Anyone with information on this case is asked to call police.

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