WAILUKU - A 25-year-old Wailuku man was hospitalized and was undergoing a mental health evaluation following his arrest Tuesday morning for allegedly threatening the life of Mayor Alan Arakawa, police said.
The threat was reported by a woman who encountered a man brandishing a knife while she walked her dogs near the employee parking lot of the Kalana O Maui county building at about 7:35 a.m., police said. When the woman asked the man what he was going to do with the knife, he allegedly told her that he was going to "murder the mayor," police said.
The woman left and called 911.
Police recovered this knife with a 6-inch blade in the investigation of an alleged threat Tuesday against Mayor Alan Arakawa.
Security footage showed the man entering the county building. He reportedly asked some county employees where the mayor's office was located, then went to the ninth floor.
On the ninth floor, the man spoke to the front desk receptionist and asked to see the mayor.
The receptionist said the mayor was not in yet and asked the man to sign in so she could make an appointment. The man, who reportedly was rambling, left a first name and his phone number and then left without making any additional threats, police said.
Police initiated a terroristic threatening investigation and identified the man. He was arrested at his residence on South Market Street without incident at about 10:15 a.m., police said.
Because the man had not been charged Tuesday afternoon, The Maui News is following its general policy and not publishing his name or a photograph of him provided by police.
Police said a preliminary investigation showed that the man may have been suffering from possible mental health issues. He was transported to Maui Memorial Medical Center for evaluation. At 12:42 p.m., he was released from police custody and admitted to the hospital's Molokini Ward for further evaluation, police said.
Police recovered what appeared to be a kitchen knife with a 6-inch blade near the man at his residence.
In response to the situation, Arakawa said that he does not plan to change his open-door policy. He said that the ninth-floor doors will remain unlocked as they have been since the start of his administration last year.
During his election campaign, Arakawa had criticized former Mayor Charmaine Tavares for having a locked security door in the ninth-floor reception area.
"I feel this is an isolated incident," Arakawa said Tuesday. "I am thankful to police for their quick response and to this witness who reported the incident so promptly. But these doors will remain open. People need to feel free to come in, make an appointment and talk to their government officials."
* Lila Fujimoto may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.