Active shooter false alert at Ala Moana Center
An active shooter scenario, turned out to be a false alarm. But the weapons scare forced a "Lock Down" at Ala Moana Shopping Center.
An active shooter scenario, turned out to be a false alarm.
But the weapons scare forced a "Lock Down" at Ala Moana Shopping Center.
The Hawaii Convention Center has been filled with everything fans of anime, comics and Japanese artwork would love. More than 12,000 people attended Kawaii Kon this weekend.
Along with meeting artists, and taking part in video game tournaments, many also dressed up like their favorite character.
"We had the largest gathering of cosplayers in Hawaii. More than half of the people that showed up, ended up cosplaying," said Kawaii Kon Organizer Faisal Ahmed.
"I think it is really fun trying to be someone else, not that i want to be someone else, just being a character for a game that you love," said Ewa resident Taylor Ongayo.
" Here you have to wear your aloha shirt or uniform but this represents who you want to be. When you're sitting at home, this is how I feel. Kawaii Kon is the place where you get to expose the world to your true self," added Ahmed.
Apparently, many cosplayers' true selves are armed to the teeth.
Rylie Aguda spent three days at the convention center checking out all the activities, and picked up souvenirs from shows he likes, including a sword.
Ahmed said in order to carry around weapons, each has to be inspected and deemed not dangerous, which means they can't have sharp edges, be too big, or too realistic.
Those approved get tagged.
"it is a safety thing, so basically it got checked out and approved if not they hold it for you," stated Aguda.
Cosplayers were also warned to keep their props covered outside of Kawaii Kon.
"When you're walking around, remember not everyone knows what cosplay is. So,
if you dress up as your favorite character from a military show, you have be very cautious. We ask people not to have prop weapons outside of the convention center, just to avoid any kind of misunderstanding," said Ahmed.
But Saturday evening police were called to Ala Moana after there were reports of a weapon sticking out of backpack.
And the Nordstrom end of the shopping center was cleared just before 7 in the evening.
"Our manager came in and said, 'Lock it up, we're in lock down.' I thought the whole mall was on lock down," said Dan C., an employee at the Gelato shop in front of Nordstrom.
Island News repeatedly asked the department store for more details about the incident, but they did not respond to our requests. According to Dan, employees huddled inside shops and stores, "We just turned off the lights, turned off everything and waited in the back. Until we were safely escorted into the store, and then we waited for the whole thing to blow over."
Another shopper in Nordstrom, said they were moved from the ground floor to the third floor. They were also told to remain calm while being kept inside, because of an active shooter incident.
Responding police checked the area but didn't find anything, and the all clear was sounded about a half an hour after the first alert was issued.
Some believe the supposed weapon was simply a prop from Kawaii Kon.
The Ala Moana area could again be filled with weapons and costumes later this year as a sister convention called "Comic Con" , which focusing on sci-fi and comics, takes place August 3rd to the 5th.