HONOLULU – A police officer shot a 17-year-old runaway in the wrist Tuesday morning at a Hawaii high school after the teen cut one officer with a knife and punched two others, authorities said.
State Department of Education spokeswoman Donalyn Dela Cruz said the boy showed up at Roosevelt High School near downtown Honolulu, and officials there recognized him as a runaway and called police. The boy had been a student at the public school before but wasn’t registered for classes there this semester, she said.
Honolulu Police Maj. Richard Robinson said officers arrived at the school and tried to take the boy into custody, but he lunged at them.
The teen attacked one of the officers with a knife, leaving him with a minor cut on his torso, Robinson said. He also hit two other officers, but neither suffered serious injuries.
One of the officers then fired two shots, hitting the boy once in the wrist. The teen was taken to a hospital in serious condition, EMS spokeswoman Shayne Enright said. His injuries were not life-threatening.
The incident prompted a lockdown at Roosevelt, which has an enrollment of about 1,500.
Noah Powell, a 16-year-old junior, said the shooting happened in a school counselor’s office. Powell said he was in a nearby office and heard the struggle and shots, but he didn’t see the 17-year-old or know who he was.
Powell texted his parents afterward to let them know he was OK. He said he also posted on Facebook that he was fine and got quick responses from people saying they were praying for the school.
Kealii Akiona-Soares, a junior, was in social studies class when he heard a faint shot at about 8:20 a.m.
Then a school bell sounded and students were kept in their classrooms, the 17-year-old said. He said his class continued with a politics lesson, and everyone kept mostly calm.
“I guess it happens a lot in mainland schools, so it’s not surprising,” Akiona-Soares said.
Several parents, including Carolyn Richardson, gathered outside Roosevelt after word of the shooting spread. Some were visibly upset, and many texted or called their children.
“This is really freaking me out,” Richardson told the AP.
Richardson said she learned about the shooting around 9 a.m. through a text from her son, CarDarow, a sophomore.
CarDarow texted her that he heard shots had been fired at the school, but that he was all right. Richardson then used her cellphone to video chat with her son. “I gotta hear your voice,” she screamed at him.
Faith Kalamau said she rushed to the school as soon as she got an automated call saying the campus was on lockdown. “I’m very worried,” she said. “I heard on the news there were some people shot.”
School was let out for the day at about 10 a.m., and a steady stream of students filed off the campus, near the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific known as Punchbowl.
Hawaii is one of 12 states that have not had a school shooting, or someone entering a campus with the intent to shoot, state Education Department officials said.
In 2011, a handgun that a 14-year-old student brought to Highlands Intermediate School in Pearl City went off, narrowly missing one student and leaving another with minor injuries.
“I’m really shocked it happened here in Hawaii of all places,” said Angie Estrella as she was picking up her son, a freshman, and her daughter, a senior.
The incident comes amid a string of violence in recent months involving students at U.S. schools.
On Monday, a 16-year-old boy set himself on fire at a suburban Denver high school in an apparent suicide attempt. And earlier this month, a seventh-grader opened fire at a middle school gym in Roswell, N.M., wounding a 13-year-old girl and 12-year-old boy.
In Philadelphia, a boy and a girl hanging out with a group of fellow students this month in a high school gym were shot and wounded.
Also in Colorado, a student gunman last month shot and killed a 17-year-old classmate at a Centennial high school before killing himself – a day before the one-year anniversary of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting.