On Tuesday morning, just after school started, Honolulu police arrived at Roosevelt High School to take a 17-year-old runaway into custody.
“When they entered the office that the suspect was in, he became combative, struck two of the officers. During that time there were two civilians in the office, who both fled out of the office,” HPD Maj. Richard Robinson said.
Police say the teenager, who is a registered, but non-active student at Roosevelt, took out a kitchen knife and began slashing at the officers.
“One officer drew his weapon, fired two shots, striking the suspect. After continued struggle, the suspect was taken into custody and walked out of the school,” Maj. Robinson said.
“Immediately when this started to happen, in terms of the incident, the staff here at Roosevelt went into lockdown situation. What that means is no in and no out,” said Donalyn Dela Cruz, Director of Communications for the Department of Education.
The emergency drill that students practice in all public schools went into effect. Within minutes, automated calls went out to parents and guardians.
“What happens is parents are notified that there is a lockdown situation and that their child is safe,” Dela Cruz said.
The school released students at about 10 a.m., as police investigated the incident.
Three officers were treated for minor injuries from being punched, and one had a minor cut.
The head of the police union says the officers followed proper procedure, and police don’t necessarily treat the situation differently because it’s a high school campus.
“So did the police officer do the right thing?” KHON2 asked.
“Yeah, in my belief he did that. We police officers are trained to stop the threat,” said Tenari Maafala, president of the State of Hawaii Police Officers Union.
“No matter the age of the person?” KHON2 asked.
“No matter the age,” Maafala said.
The suspect, who was shot in the arm, was taken to the Queen’s Medical Center in serious condition with non-life-threatening injuries. He was also arrested on three counts of attempted murder.
“What’s important for us is the security and safety at the school for the staff and students,” Dela Cruz said.
Classes will resume Wednesday and counselors will be available to students.