HPD prepped for a crisis, Correa says
Honolulu's police are trained and ready to handle a rampaging gunman like the one who struck Virginia Tech on Monday, according to Police Chief Boisse Correa.
"We have been training for some time now for this worst-case scenario -- active shooter -- within our community," Correa said yesterday at a news conference. "In the last year, we have trained at University (of Hawaii) about three times," he said, saying the last time was March 28.
After the 1999 Columbine High shootings in which two teens fatally shot 12 students and a teacher, then themselves, Honolulu police came up with plans for such a scenario. Correa said the department has the equipment and expertise to handle such a situation at schools or anywhere.
The chief said he opposes arming security guards at the UH-Manoa campus, citing training and safety issues, and he cautioned against overreacting.
Correa said Honolulu ranked as the second-safest major city in the nation last year, according to the Brady Coalition, a gun-control advocacy group.
Last year, Honolulu police seized 815 guns from registered owners who were found to be mentally unfit or had allegedly committed a crime, he said.
Correa called the Virginia Tech shooting horrendous and recalled Hawaii's deadliest shooting rampage, the 1999 Xerox massacre in which worker Byran Uyesugi killed seven of his co-workers.
"I was in charge of the Xerox shooting, so I went in and saw all the seven victims. ... You have nightmares for the rest of your life," Correa said.