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Police: Officer shot boy in wrist at Roosevelt High School in Hawaii

HONOLULU (AP) -- 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 nearly 1,400.

The officer who fired on administrative leave during an investigation, Robinson said.

Tenari Maafala, president of the statewide police officers union, said the knife posed a clear threat and officers are trained to stop a threat, regardless of the suspect's age.

"They didn't come here looking to shoot somebody," said Maafala, who went to the school as part of the Honolulu police peer support unit.

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 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 said.

She said she learned about the shooting around 9 a.m. through a text from her son, CarDarow.

CarDarow, a sophomore, texted her that he heard shots had been fired at the school but 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."

After reuniting with her son, freshman Kahaku King, she said officials took too long to provide details about what happened.

"I was frustrated," she said. "I thought maybe more information should have been told to the parents or at least to the media. This is the first time I've been in this situation."

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. Classes were to resume Wednesday.

"Incidents like this are very rare in Hawaii, however, our partnership with the Honolulu Police Department on safety drills played a major role in the success of today's lockdown," said Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. She commended staff and students for following safety protocols and thanked parents for their patience and understanding.

Hawaii is one of 12 states that have not had 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 fellow students this month in a high school gym were shot and wounded.

In Centennial, Colo., a student gunman last month shot and killed a 17-year-old classmate before killing himself - a day before the one-year anniversary of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting.

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bharrison777 January 29 2014 at 2:06 PM

This 17 year old is lucky. Two shot fired but only hit in wrist. Don't think the cop was trying to hit his wrist.

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Richard January 29 2014 at 12:05 PM

Good job by the police.

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Kauailady1 January 29 2014 at 11:54 AM

The officer did the right thing. He'll never be able to shoot or maim ever again. Best way to treat a criminal shoot his wrist.

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adrian@nationltd.com January 29 2014 at 11:52 AM

Horrible writing. Is the journalist a 14-year old?

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acmeme January 29 2014 at 11:50 AM

Something is wrong when all thees students are shooting. It mighe be all our truthful polititician attitude.

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1 reply to acmeme's comment
dashdzl January 29 2014 at 12:15 PM

this was not a student shooting, he had a knife.

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skibum6 January 29 2014 at 11:50 AM

That is not an extreme use of force - it is just GREAT shooting and rightfully so!

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chevellesss5 January 29 2014 at 11:42 AM

This officer obviously could have shot him dead on the floor but did not, that says alot about his professionalism. He's a great Cop, wish we had more like him!

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1 reply to chevellesss5's comment
accsport January 30 2014 at 2:16 PM

If you think that is what that says then he violated all the rules and needs remedial firearms training. A firearm by state standard of training is "deadly" force and to use a firearm for anything less then that would be a felony on his part. The fact is he missed displaying less then standard firearms skills.

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bar57jmb75 January 29 2014 at 11:39 AM

the media needs to stop printing any names. They quit showing streakers during sporting
events, consequently that has almost entirely stopped. No name policy would thwart the
motive and hopefully stop this or slow the progression of these actions.

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2 replies to bar57jmb75's comment
rico41 January 29 2014 at 11:47 AM

That's a great idea.....wish they'd do it and it would work.

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dashdzl January 29 2014 at 12:17 PM

I don't think that kids minds work that way.

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Erbie's January 29 2014 at 11:34 AM

Don't know why they brought up the age with the police shooting him? A 15 year old, this kid is 17, is just as smart as a 45 year old. And if he is going to shoot someone the age does not play any part in it, police should protect themselves and the citizens the best way possible. This 17 year old thought he was bad stuff when he cut the cop, they should have made sure he couldn't cut anyone else, ever.

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1 reply to Erbie's's comment
daedaluspillar January 29 2014 at 11:51 AM

You do realize the portion of the human brain that controls the ability for rational long-term consequential thought doesn't fully develop until someone is about 25 years old right? Also there is a difference between a 17 year old and a 45 year old in "smart" as you call it. The 17 year old may be a genius level IQ, which does not translate into common sense, nor does it translate into ability to cope like a 45 year old with a situation. If you corner any animal that is scared, hormonally charged, and feels threatened you can guarantee it will strike, human or otherwise. Try using the logical and rational thought to approach the issue from a mentality that doesn't reach for violence or death at first glance. Humans have speech and the ability to use that to negotiate, understand, adapt, and overcome without resorting to killing living beings. Then again, if you want a kid killed with his circumstances unknown, are you really so different from that kid lashing?

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1 reply to daedaluspillar's comment
Richard January 29 2014 at 12:11 PM

A knife in the hand of a 17 or a 45 can still kill

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nelson4az January 29 2014 at 11:28 AM

The young man shot is obviously mentally ill. Ouestion is why? Why did he run away from home, he seems angry, desperate and scared. No one should be judged until we know all the facts. I have a gut feeling that the responding officers handled the situation the best that they could. I'm sure they don't feel wonderful about the out come, but lets all be thankful that this young man did not posess a gun instead of a knife or the incident would probably have been much worse.

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