By Wendy Osher
(Update: 4:18 p.m. 6/12/12)
A 25-year-old Wailuku man was arrested for allegedly threatening the life of Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa, said Maui police.
Maui police have since identified the man as Austin James Gerard, 25, of Wailuku, Maui.
Gerard was placed under arrest for first degree terroristic threatening. He was arrested without incident at his home located on South Market Street.
From there, police say he was transported to the Maui Memorial Medical Center.
At about 12:42 p.m., he was released from police custody and admitted to the Molokini Ward for further evaluation.
Timeline of Events
The incident was reported at around 7:35 a.m. when a female walking her dogs near the county building encountered a man brandishing a knife, police said.
According to police reports, when she asked the man what he was going to do with the knife, he allegedly told her that he was going to “murder the mayor.”
The woman immediately left and called 911 to report the incident, police said.
Security footage captured the man entering into the county building, where he reportedly asked some county employees where the mayor’s office was located, and then preceded to the 9th floor, according to Maui Police.
Police said upon arriving on the 9th floor the man spoke to the front desk receptionist and asked to see the mayor.
According to police reports, the receptionist told the individual that the mayor was not in yet and asked the man to sign in so she could make an appointment. The individual left a first name and his phone number and then left without making any additional threats, police said.
Maui Police responded and initiated a “terroristic threatening” investigation. As a result of their investigation, Maui Police said they were able to identify the man.
Police then proceeded to a Wailuku residence and arrested the male without incident at 10:15 a.m.
Police say a preliminary investigation revealed that male may have been suffering from possible mental health issues. The man was transported to the Maui Memorial Medical Center for evaluation.
Mayor Arakawa Comments
In response to the situation, Mayor Arakawa said he does not plan to change his open door policy, and said the 9th floor doors will remain unlocked as they have been since the start of his administration last year.
“I feel this is an isolated incident,” Arakawa said. “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.”
***Supporting information courtesy: Maui Police Department.