Employees at the University of Hawaii’s College of Pharmacy research facility off Stainback Highway were evacuated this morning after being told police are searching for a suspect in the area.
The facility was evacuated at about 11 a.m., said Andrea Bandino, a post-doctoral researcher.
Bandino said staff were told police were searching for an armed man who is considered dangerous.
“They advised us around 11 that we have to evacuate the lab,” he said.
So far, police have not commented on the incident.
Initially, the Hawaii County Fire Department was called to a report of a vehicle fire on Quarry Road off Stainback Highway, said Warren Sumida, East Hawaii battalion chief.
The report came in at 8:04 a.m. but police told fire crews to stand down before they got to the scene, he said.
“They didn’t give us any information,” Sumida said.
“I guess they were busy with something going on up there that we don’t know about.”
Earlier this morning, police were staged on Stainback Highway near the Panaewa Rainforest Zoo.
They were allowing university employees to access facilities up the road but were telling other drivers to turn around.
Bandino said he was able to get to work at 9 a.m. but police told him to be on the lookout for anyone entering or exiting the forest.
“He told me if you see someone, call the police.”