Safety concerns raised as search continues for suspect behind brutal park attack

Local News

Honolulu police are still looking for the suspect behind a senseless attack that left a woman beaten and bloodied.

According to a description released Friday by HPD, the man is believed to be in his 20s to 30s, 5 feet 6 inches tall, and 140 pounds. He had short, black hair, and wore a gray T-shirt and multicolored swim shorts.

Police say the stranger attacked Gabrielle Bartlett in broad daylight at Ala Moana Regional Park one week ago.

Bartlett tells us she was at the park at around 4:30 p.m., enjoying the afternoon, when she was attacked. There were several other girls nearby.

The city says it handed park surveillance video over to Honolulu police.

If you have any information, call CrimeStoppers at 955-8300 or submit an anonymous tip online here.

The incident has raised concerns over safety.

Ala Moana Neighborhood Board member William Ammons says it does seem like we are seeing more crimes.

On May 28, a Japanese tourist was attacked in the public bathroom at Mother Waldron Neighborhood Park. 

“It’s disturbing to say the least,” Ammons said. “The victims don’t seem to be victims of robbery, just unprovoked attacks.”

So what can be done? Honolulu City Council member Trevor Ozawa says we need more manpower.

“There are ways to show that there are people here, staff, very visibly present at the beach, walking in the area, making sure that things are kind of safe so that those that would commit a type of crime like that would be deterred,” he said.

There is currently a park ranger program at Ala Moana and Kapiolani parks. Ozawa wants to bolster that program.

“Public safety is still our top priority, and we have to do what we can, which is step up the boots on the ground,” he said.

Ammons says these types of crimes are a symptom of a larger problem.

“I think the problem is deeper than that. It’s a societal problem, mental health, homelessness, all these related issues kind of tie into it,” he said.

For now, both Ozawa and Ammons say it’s important to remember to be vigilant and aware of your surroundings.

City officials say park rangers do still patrol both Ala Moana and Kapiolani parks looking for illegal activity, but the rangers do not have enforcement powers. They are there to represent that extra set of eyes to deter crime.

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