Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard Shooting: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

pearl harbor shooting

Getty A guard stands by at the Nimitz Gate of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii shortly after a sailor fatally shot two civilians at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard in Honolulu, Hawaii on December 4, 2019.

A U.S. sailor shot three Department of Defense civilian workers during an active shooter situation at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, the military reported. Two people were killed, and the shooter was dead. The gunman has been identified as 22-year-old Gabriel Romero.

The victims who were fatally shot were both men. One of the victims has been identified as 32-year-old Vincent Kapoi Jr., family members and friends say. The second victim was identified as Roldan Agustin, a veteran of the U.S. Navy and Army National Guard. The shipyard was on lockdown for nearly two hours, according to the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickham

The Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam confirmed the lockdown and report of the shooting, writing on Twitter, “JBPHH security forces have responded to a reported shooting at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. The incident occurred at approximately 2:30 p.m. Due to the ongoing security incident, access/gates to #JBPHH are closed. We will update when we have further information.”

The Pearl Harbor shooting locations were at Drydock 2. Base personnel received texts alerts, and a PA system warned those on the base to take cover.The lockdown was lifted at about 4:10 p.m., the base reported. Military police responded to the scene, and the U.S. Navy was leading the investigation.

A shipyard worker told Honolulu Civil Beat that he heard emergency sirens go off about 2 p.m., but did not receive a DOD text alert until about an hour later.

The situation was still “unfolding,” nearly one hour after the incident began at about 2:30 p.m. At about 3:30 p.m., Hawaii News Now reported the shooter was “secured.”

Here’s what you need to know:


1. The Military Identified the Gunman as a U.S. Sailor & One Witness Said He Saw the Gunman Shoot Himself

The U.S. military identified the gunman as a U.S. sailor. He was assigned to the USS Columbia (SSN-771), a 688-class submarine. He died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the U.S. Navy. The sailor was later identified as 22-year-old Gabriel Romero. You can read more about him here.

One of the victims has been identified as 32-year-old Vincent Kapoi Jr., family members and friends say. The second victim was identified as Roldan Agustin, a veteran of the U.S. Navy and Army National Guard.

“Obviously our thoughts are with the victims and everyone that was involved,” said Rear Admiral Robert Chadwick, commander of Navy Region Hawaii, during a press conference. “This is certainly a tragedy for everyone here.”

The Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam wrote on Twitter, “Officials at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam report the shooting incident at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard has been secured. One person is confirmed dead. The shooter has been identified as a U.S. Sailor. #PearlHarbor”

The thread continued, “The sailor reportedly shot and injured three Department of Defense civilian workers before shooting themself. The incident took place this afternoon at the vicinity of the shipyard’s Dry Dock 2. The base is no longer in lockdown…Base security and Navy investigative services are currently investigating. The names of the victims will not be released until the next of kin have been notified.”

A witness told Hawaii News Now he saw the gunman shoot himself. He was sitting at his desk when he heard loud pops and looked outside.

“I was at my desk and I heard loud pops, and I kind of recognize that as gunshots,” the witness said. “I looked out the window and I saw three people on the ground, and I looked out in time to see the shooter, who I assume was a sailor because he was in uniform, point the gun at his head and shoot himself.”

The shooting was being investigated by the U.S. Navy. Honolulu police detectives and the city Medical Examiner’s Office also responded to the scene.

“#BREAKING: A portion of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam is on lockdown because of an apparent active shooter situation; multiple victims reported, per law enforcement source,” Hawaii News Now wrote on Twitter.


2. Two Department of Defense Civilian Workers Were Killed & a Third Was Injured

Two civilian employees with the Department of Defense were killed in the shooting. A third civilian employee was injured and listed in stable condition, according to Hawaii News Now. That person was identified as a 36-year-old man.

A family assistance center was opened, according to the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

“Emergency Family Assistance Center is now open and will remain open until further notice,” the military base wrote on Twitter. “LOCATION: 4827 Bougainville Drive (Same Bldg as PSD). CRISIS CALL CENTER: 866-525-6676.”

“Family members and personnel that would like to attend chaplain and counseling services can do so at Building 2, Room 130, or Family Assistance Center at Bloch Arena, or call (808) 285-7447,” the base added.

The support services would continue Thursday, the military base announced.

“Those in need of support services tomorrow morning can go to the Military Family Support Center (MFSC) beginning 0700. MFSC is located at 4827 Bougainville Drive on the second floor,” the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam wrote on Twitter. “Family members and personnel in need of immediate support services are asked to go to building 2, room number 130. The Crisis Call Center can be reached at 866-525-6676 until further notice.”

A scanner feed described the incident as a mass casualty event with at least three victims.

“(PEARL HARBOR – ) BASE PD/FD/EMS ON SCENE ACTIVE SHOOTER. SHERIFFS OFFICE/DEPARTMENT FAR 3 VICTS. UNKNOWN STATUS,” the alert said.

The alert was issued at 1:55 p.m. on Oahu.

At least three people were injured, and two people were critically injured, according to Hawaii News Now. One of the victims was taken to the Tripler Army Medical Center, and a second victim was taken to Pali Momi Medical Center, according to Hawaii News Now. Both of those victims died within hours at the hospitals. A third person was taken to the Queen’s Medical Center, and was listed in stable condition. That person was identified as a 36-year-old man.

About 100 witnesses were being interviewed about the shooting.

The Indian Air Force announced Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria, who is stationed at the US military base there, was safe, according to News 24 Online.


3. A Woman on Base Said She Was Hiding in a Pantry

One person replied to The Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam’s tweet, saying she was hiding in a pantry and asked if the shooter was near base housing.

“I am hiding in my pantry at home, is the shooter near housing?” she wrote on Twitter.

A person responded to her tweet with a map of the Pearl Harbor shooting locations, which indicated it occurred near Drydock 2.

Alex Ojeda and Will Churchhill told Hawaii News Now they were reporting to their first day at work on base on the day of the shooting.

“We were actually on our way out,” Ojeda said. “We didn’t expect that at all.”

Another military member told the news station he was getting a haircut when he started getting a flurry of text messages.

“We got a bunch of texts from on the ship and on the barge letting us know there’s an active shooter alert,” the service member said.

Councilwoman Kymberly Pine released a statement to KITV 4, saying she was “shocked and saddened.”

“I am shocked and saddened at the news that multiple people have been hurt in an active shooter situation at Pearl Harbor,” she said. “This is rattling for our community and my heart goes out to the families of the victims and emergency responders who are on the scene now.”

Gov. David Ige said the White House has offered assistance in the wake of the shooting.

“I join in solidarity with the people of Hawaii as we express our heartbreak over this tragedy and concern for those affected by the shooting,” Ige said, in a statement to Hawaii News Now.

Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami issued a statement on the shooting.

It said, ““We are all shaken by this senseless act of violence. All of Hawai‘i hurts when our ‘ohana gets hurt. Our hearts go out to the victims and their families, and all who serve our Country at the shipyard. We send our thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time.”


4. The Base Was Put on Lockdown for the Active Shooter Report

The Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam was put on lockdown after reports of an active shooter, according to the military base’s Twitter feed.

“JBPHH security forces have responded to a reported shooting at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard,” they wrote on Twitter. “The incident occurred at approximately 2:30 p.m. Due to the ongoing security incident, access/gates to #JBPHH are closed. We will update when we have further information.”

The lockdown was lifted at about 4:10 p.m., the base reported on Twitter.

“Gates and base access are now open. Standby for further information regarding the active shooter incident. #JBPHH,” the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam wrote on Twitter.

The lockdown caused a traffic backup on Nimitz and Kamehameha highways, which remained even after the lockdown was lifted. Commercial flights were still operating, and officials said those headed to the airport should allow for extra time, according to Hawaii News Now.

KITV 4 reported a nearby McDonald’s was also on lockdown. Mokulele Elementary, Hickam Elementary and Nimitz Elementary awere also on lockdown, the Hawaii Department of Education told KITV 4, but few students were at school because Wednesday was an early release day.


5. The Shooting Occurred 3 Days Before the 78th Anniversary of the Attack on Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor survivor Armando “Chick” Galella, 97, salutes during an event on the USS Intrepid to mark the 77th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 07, 2018 in New York City.

The shooting at Pearl Harbor occurred just three days before the 78th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor that prompted the United States to join World War II. Japanese bombers attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 killing 1,177 crew members on the US Arizona. The attack prompted the United States to declare war on Japan and, shortly afterward, Germany.

Rear Admiral Robert Chadwick, commander of Navy Region Hawaii, said during a press conference that the military was getting ready to commemorate the anniversary of Pearl Harbor.

“We’re getting ready to celebrate, or at least honor, the 78th anniversary of Pearl Harbor and the role that the shipyard played in WWII is pretty legendary,” Chadwick said. “And the shipyard is well known for the amazing work they did then and the amazing work they continue to do, so this is certainly a tragedy for everyone here.”

He said the military was mobilizing to provide support services to the families of the victims and others on the military base.

READ NEXT: Gabriel Romero: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know


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