UPDATE: Lockdown Prompted by Numerous Threatening Calls, Texts
***Updated at 5:10 p.m.***
Kona police are holding a 23-year-old Kailua-Kona man in connection with today’s lockdown at schools in Waimea and Honoka`a.
Police said Lyle Kawika Pascubillo was arrested on suspicion of three terroristic threatening cases.
A 25-year-old Honoka`a woman told police that she had received numerous threatening telephone calls and text messages from an unknown source.
Police said the text messages threatened violent actions at schools in Honoka`a and Waimea.
As a result, all schools in Waimea, including Hawaii Preparatory Academy and Parker School, and those in Honoka`a were placed on lockdown, with students confined to classes.
An investigation into the calls and messages led police to a residence in Kailua-Kona where Pascubillo was arrested.
Police then notified school officials who lifted the lockdown at about 1 p.m.
Meanwhile, Honoka`a school officials used a variety of social and traditional media to inform parents of the ongoing situation.
Also, the school’s email and phone messenger systems were activated and information was sent to all families with email addresses and phone numbers on record.
***Updated at 1:40 p.m.***
According to police, a threat that prompted lockdowns for much of the school day in that town and in Waimea was aimed at a person.
Maj. Sam Thomas said he did not yet have information on the identity of the person threatened or the person’s connection to a school.
The suspect, who was not immediately identified, was arrested on suspicion of terroristic threatening.
***Updated at 1:20 p.m.***
A spokeswoman for Waimea Middle School said that a lockdown has been lifted after police took into custody a person who allegedly made the threat.
“We sincerely thank our students, faculty and staff for following procedures to be safe and take care of each other,” said spokeswoman Patti Cook.
“We thank our families for their patience because we did not have much information to share other than that their children were safely locked in classrooms,” Cook said. “We also thank the police for their quick assistance and the news media for helping keep families informed.”
According to officials at Waimea Elementary School, the lockdown was lifted there at about 1 p.m. after a suspect was taken into custody in Kona. They said that the release time for students would be at 2:17 p.m., with buses running on their usual schedule.
In an earlier update, the school said parents were being allowed to pick up their children early.
The arrest information could not be immediately confirmed with police.
***Updated at 1:10 p.m.***
A suspect who allegedly sent a text to Honoka`a police containing a school threat has been apprehended, Honoka`a Elementary School said on its website.
As a result the lockdown has been lifted, school officials said.
It was not immediately clear if the lockdown was lifted at other schools located in Waimea.
The suspect is in custody in the Kona district, the school said.
***Updated at 12:55 p.m.***
Officials at Honoka`a Elementary School said that they have been informed by police that the suspect who allegedly made a threat through a text message has been identified.
Police were on the way to the suspect’s residence, the officials said on the school’s website.
The schools apparently remain in lockdown at this time, however.
Meanwhile, officials at both the upper and lower campuses at Hawai`i Preparatory Academy were also placed on precautionary lockdown this morning.
***Updated at 11:45 a.m.***
Schools in Honoka`a are also under lockdown this morning, officials there said.
According to information from Rachelle Matsumura and Alan Brown, principal and vice-principal at Honoka`a High and Intermediate School, respectively, all three schools remained under lockdown shortly before noon.
The lockdown was put in place at about 10:30 a.m., Brown told Big Island Now’s Josh Pacheco.
Matsumura said a threatening text message was the reason for the lockdown.
She said students remain safe and police continue to investigate the matter.
Matsumura encouraged parents to visit to the school’s website for updates.
Posted at 10:56 a.m.:
Police this morning instituted a lockdown at Waimea Middle School and Waimea Elementary School, and have requested that parents and others refrain from coming to the campuses at this time, a school official said.
According to Waimea Middle Community Liaison Patti Cook, the campus is secure and students are safe.
The lockdown was put in place at 10:18 a.m., she said.
Cook said she did not yet know the reason for the lockdown.
More information will be provided as it becomes available.
Cook said families of students with questions can call the school directly at 887-7636, Ext. 221 for Waimea Elementary School and 887-6090, Ext 22 for Waimea Middle School.
***Updated to correct Rachelle Matsumura’s title and the recipient of threatening messages.***