A soldier and Savannah native is being called a hero for stopping an alleged predator near a Hawaiian school.
Brandon Spears, a Windsor Forest graduate, took the man to the ground after he allegedly exposed himself to students.
The incident occurred on Wednesday, Nov. 18, at around 3:15 p.m. at Waikele Elementary School.
According to a letter that was sent home to parents, it took place during after-school hours at the school’s A+ program.
The letter states “a suspicious man walked into the girl’s bathroom near the cafeteria. Two of our students were inside at the time. Fortunately a Good Samaritan had been observing the suspicious man and chased him away.
Elijah Spriggs-Kahalewai, 21, was initially booked on suspicion of fourth-degree sex assault.
According to court documents, Spriggs-Kahalewai allegedly exposed himself to the students.
“One child tried to run away, he grabbed the child by the arm,” deputy prosecutor Sean Van Demark stated in court.
Spriggs-Kahalewai was subsequently charged with two counts of sex assault, harassment, open lewdness and simple trespassing. His bail was set at $6,000.
From the get-go, Brandon Spears knew something wasn’t right as he watched Spriggs-Kahalewai walking in the Waikele area.
“He had his pants down, he didn’t have his shirt on, so his butt cheeks were showing,” he said.
Spears didn’t let the stranger out of his sight.
“I was about 100 feet behind him in this area right here. I followed him up, he went up to the playground and the lady that was there with her two kids, he stared at them and at that point, I was like, he was going to do something,” Spears said.
Kelly Kawamura said she was at the playground with her child, and also witnessed the incident.
“He just kept walking and I just felt weird and then as he walked away, he pulled down his pants,” Kawamura said.
Spears and Kawamura saw Spriggs-Kahalewai walk into the girls’ bathroom. They did not know anyone was inside.
“I heard screams as soon as he walked in, and you know the weird feeling behind your neck comes in, and I was like, oh no, this is bad,” Spears said. “That’s when literally, my flip flops came off and I sprinted and yelled at him. He came out of the bathroom, he looked around, pulled up his pants and then he ran.”
Spears is a military police K9 handler and knew exactly what to do.
“At that point, just training from the military kind of stepped into play,” Spears said. “I told him to get on the ground, on his belly, put his hands on the small of his back and cross his ankles, and at that point, we just sat there until HPD arrived.”
Faculty members at Waikele Elementary also helped, but the Department of Education gives credit to Spears.
Spears, who has a child of his own, says he’s happy that he helped the two girls in the bathroom, and said he also acted on instinct. Helping his community, especially children, is something he never hesitates to do.
“That makes me feel good because I got to save children, which literally is the most important thing I feel in today’s society,” Spears said.