Suspect accused of hatchet attack on city bus released pending investigation

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Honolulu police have opened an assault investigation following an incident on TheBus Tuesday morning.

It happened at 4:10 a.m., on Nimitz Highway, between Kamehameha Highway and Peltier Avenue.

Police say, the suspect entered TheBus and became unruly. A couple of passengers restrained him in the back of the bus, and as one of the passengers was walking away, the suspect then struck and hit a male in the back of the head using a mini hatchet. 

The 29-year-old victim was taken to a nearby hospital in serious condition. 

Police say, the 35-year-old suspect was arrested for second degree assault, and released pending investigation because the victim declined to press charges. We’re told there was a language barrier between the 29-year-old victim and police.

TheBus said they’re assisting police with the investigation.

Due to the suspect being released from custody, we concealed the identity of a Honolulu man who says he witnessed the attack.

The witness said he was on the bus en route to work when he noticed another bus rider behaving strangely.

“Just bouncing around, hopping seats. Like leap frogging, it was like a chess game. I was trying to figure out, what was he going to do?” he said.

Things escalated quickly, he said, as the man picked a fight with another rider on the bus.

“His hat was backwards. He flipped it, as a taunt. As if he were saying, what are you going to do about it?”

He said the man pulled out a hatchet.

“He struck the guy in the back of the head, it was pretty horrible. He clubbed him, with the handle of it.”

Two others rushed to the victim’s side, as he comforted a mother and daughter.

“Calm the mom down, I know she’s upset. Everything is fine no, don’t worry about it.”

But in the chaos, he says the man got off the bus.

“This is what I don’t get. He stood there. He didn’t run away. That’s what I don’t get. He stood 10 or 20 yards away. From a pillar, in a dark area.”

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