Suspect sought after 'stranger danger' incident near elementary school in Waipahu

Honolulu police are investigating a report of a suspicious male who approached an elementary school student in Waipahu.

It happened at around 7 a.m. Monday, about a quarter-mile from August Ahrens Elementary School.

The boy's mother, who wished to remain anonymous, told KHON2 he was walking to school as he normally does when he saw a man standing outside a white van with the door open.

The boy said the man asked him to "come in my car so I can take you home."

"He did see a weapon on the driver's side," the mother said. "It was a gun."

She said her son immediately turned around and ran back home crying.

"I guess we take it for granted not thinking it would happen in our own area," she said. "I just wanted to put it out there so parents are aware."

According to police, the student described the male as being in his 30s, 5'10", and 200 lbs.

His mother said the man wore a black jacket and one leg of his pants was rolled up, revealing a red and green tattoo on his shin.

Police are continuing to investigate, and anyone with information is asked to call 911.

The Department of Education released the following statement in response:

The safety of our students is of utmost importance to us and in light of this morning's incident, teachers reinforced stranger danger lessons in all classes at August Ahrens Elementary School. A letter will be going out to parents this afternoon about the incident and will include the information emphasized with their children.

We appreciate our parents and community's help in keeping all of our students safe as they travel to and from school.

Parents and relatives KHON2 spoke with were surprised to hear about the incident, and said they will talk to their children.

"It's not safe anymore," said Catherine David, whose younger brother goes to August Ahrens.

"Discipline him if there's a stranger that comes to him, not supposed to go with him or her," said grandparent Moriel Agcaoili.

As for the boy's mother, she said she still feels safe in the neighborhood, but she's not taking any chances.

"Even though we're only five minutes away from school, we're going to drop him off and pick him up," she said.

Education officials say children should be taught the following safety measures:

  • Stay away from strangers, do not talk to or take anything from them.
  • Don't go anywhere with someone you don't know. Never accept a ride from a stranger.
  • Stay more than an arm's reach from strangers. If a stranger approaches you, seek help

    immediately from a trusted adult.

  • Use the buddy system; avoid walking anywhere alone.
  • If a stranger grabs you, do whatever it takes to stop the stranger, yell for help.
  • Report any suspicious activity to a trusted adult.
  • Be alert of your surroundings and let others know where you will be and what time you will

    be back.

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