HONOLULU HI Feb 19 2017
A man in his 40s died Saturday morning after breaching a TSA security checkpoint at the Honolulu International Airport.
It happened just after 5:45 a.m. at the commuter terminal where Island Air and Mokulele airlines operate.
Department of Transportation officials said the suspect forced his way through the exit lane of the security checkpoint and gained access to an area where ticketed passengers were waiting to board.
"All of a sudden this man, a very large man, ran through the terminal and started ramming himself through the doors," said Hawaii News Now's Mahealani Richardson. She was at the airport with her son waiting to board their plane to Molokai. "He looked like he was trying to get out to the runway where the planes are."
The suspect managed to make it outside to the Airport Operations Area, before he was placed in custody.
"Even after he was detained, there was still a struggle and the suspect remained combative and at that point is when he became unresponsive," said Tim Sakahara, DOT spokesperson.
First responders performed CPR before transporting the suspect to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
A male Securitas law enforcement officer suffered head injuries in the process and was also taken to the hospital for treatment.
Passengers who witnessed the chaos unfold were frightened and confused.
"It was really scary during those moments, we had no idea what was going on," said Richardson. "We just had to duck down and cover ourselves because we didn't know if the suspect was going to come at us. We had to protect ourselves."
DOT officials said security checkpoint operations at the commuter terminal were briefly suspended during the incident.
No flights were impacted, but detectives stayed on scene for more than five hours to investigate.
The Honolulu Police Department has opened an unattended death investigation.
The suspect's identity has not yet been released.