Authorities Have Identified Gabriel Romero As The Person Who Killed Two People In The Pearl Harbor Shooting
All mass shootings are travesties. Whether they occur in a public place or a school, they always instill fear, sadness, and numbness mainly because they happen so often. When a shooting occurs on a military camp, it is just as daunting and debilitating because servicemen and servicewomen are there to protect and serve. Yet we also know they too suffer from an array of mental health issues simply because of their profession. The shooting at Pearl Harbor is another example of the gun violence crisis gripping this nation.
Officials have identified the U.S. sailor who killed two people and himself as 22-year-old Gabriel Romero.
On Dec. 4 at around 2:30 p.m., authorities say that Romero began shooting at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard in Hawaii. He shot three Department of Defense workers at the Dry Dock 2 on the base, the New York Post reports. Two of the victims, both males, were declared dead later at the hospital.
One witness said he saw the shooter and assumed he was a sailor “because he was in a sailor uniform.” He also reports, according to the New York Post, that he recognized the sound as gunfire and also witnessed the shooter shoot himself. The third victim is currently recovering at a local hospital.
While all the victims were working on the base, they are considered civilians, not military.
“These victims are not only dedicated [International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers] IFPTE union members, they are hard-working public servants who go to work each day to serve the taxpayers and our military forces. They are reflective of the thousands of workers at Pearl Harbor and elsewhere that go to work to earn a living and serve their nation,” the organization said, according to the Star Advertiser. “No worker should have to go to work without the expectation of safely returning to their family and loved ones.” One of the victims has been identified as 32-year-old Vincent Kapoi Jr., a local of Hawaii. The names of the other two victims have not been released.
“We are saddened by this incident, and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families,” Rear Adm. Robert Chadwick, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii, said in a statement posted on Facebook. “The Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard is a vital part of our Navy ohana, and we have generations of families who work there. Our security forces are working closely with agencies investigating this incident, and we are making counseling and other support available to those who need it after this tragedy.”
Officials have not reported a motive by the shooter. At the time of the shooting, Romero’s duty was to guard the USS Columbia, a Pearl Harbor-based submarine that was in the drydock for maintenance at the time.
According to the Navy Region Hawaii, Base security, Navy investigative services, and other agencies are investigating the incident. However, Hawaii News Now is reporting that Romero had been ordered to take anger management classes. The outlet says that Romero “was having disciplinary problems at work,” and was instructed to seek help for his anger issues.
Rear Admiral Robert Chadwick, commander of Navy Region Hawaii, told reporters that he wasn’t sure if Romero knew the people he shot. Shipyard Commander Capt. Greg Burton did send a message to families of the victims, saying, “Looking ahead, we will honor the life and legacy of those lost,” Burton said, according to Hawaii News Now.
“Even now, as we mourn the loss of members of our ”ohana, please take the opportunity to reconnect with each other and to reinforce and strengthen the bonds with each other.”
This Saturday marked the 78th anniversary of the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii and elsewhere, including in San Diego.
“We still owe a great debt to the greatest generation,” Scott McGaugh, the marketing director for the USS Midway Museum in San Diego, said to the San Diego Tribune. There are very few of them left. When we honor these kinds of days it reminds all of us that our nation can come together and unify for the greater good. That was certainly the case in World War II.”
On Dec.r 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor military base in Hawaii, killing 2,335 military servicemen and women, and 68 civilians. It is unclear if the Saturday anniversary event at Pearl Harbor will pay respect to the people who died this week.