Honolulu police arrested a man who had allegedly flashed a gun on Kalakaua Avenue Sunday afternoon.
Visitor industry sources said the incident happened just after 4 p.m. near the Burger King on Kalakaua Avenue. They said the man, who was dressed all in black, appeared to be in his 20s or 30s, and allegedly was carrying a handgun in his backpack. Sources said the man reportedly flashed the gun prompting a 911 call. They said police pursued and tackled the man.
Members of Hawaii’s visitor industry praised police for responding promptly to the 911 call, and arresting the man without firing any shots.
HPD said the incident was under investigation, and declined to provide additional information.
Waikiki Improvement Association Rick Egged said “HPD did an admirable job of handling the situation.”
Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association president and CEO Mufi Hannemann also praised those in Waikiki, who reported the incident.
“We have to be the eyes and ears for HPD, they can’t be everywhere,” said Hannemann. “Quite frankly, I was impressed with HPD. They acted swiftly with no excessive use of force and no shots fired. They recovered the gun.”
Hannemann said Sunday’s incident shows the importance of getting Safe and Sound Waikiki, a new crime reduction program up and running. Hannemann was among those who pushed Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm to greenlight the program after a rash of violent crime in the district put the community on edge.
This spring a shooting and several violent assaults near Kalakaua Avenue and Lewers Street were a top concern, Hannemann said. More recently, a sword attack at a Kalakaua Avenue 7-Eleven has added to the angst.
Alm recently told the Star-Advertiser that the multiagency program, which will scale up over the next couple of months, is based on the already established “Weed and Seed” program, which seeks to “weed out” criminals from a particular district and then “seed” communities by investing in social and economic revitalization.
The Waikiki program, which has upward of $350,000 in seed funding from the city and private sources, will include the Honolulu Police Department’s District 6, which runs from the yacht harbor to the mauka side of the Ala Wai Canal as well as Diamond Head, he said.
HTA said it was monitoring the case, which was an extremely rare type of incident for Hawaii.
HTA said, “We will continue to work closely with the City & County of Honolulu, the Honolulu Police Department, industry partners, and community organizations on the Safe & Sound Waikiki initiative to address crime in the area.
Hawaii remains a special place where we malama one another – local residents and visitors alike – with aloha. Our appreciation goes out to the public safety professionals who responded quickly to keep everyone safe.”