AP UPDATE: 2 Filipinos among 3 dead in Pearl Harbor shooting

/ 11:42 AM December 06, 2019

Fil-Hawaiian among 3 dead in Pearl Harbor shooting

Vincent Kapoi Jr.’s wife says the shooting victim was proud of his Filipino Hawaiian heritage. LINKED IN

UPDATE: Roldan Agustin, 49, originally from Laoag City, Philippines was also shot dead.

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HONOLULU Military officials said Friday at a news conference that no motive had been identified yet for the shooting but that there’s no evidence of domestic terrorism. They said the isolated attack, witnessed by shipyard employees in an area with thousands of workers, unfolded in about 23 seconds.

Gabriel Romero, who was from Texas, was dead when authorities arrived, and he was armed for his job standing watch and providing security for the fast attack submarine USS Columbia, which is at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for maintenance, officials said.

It was not known if Romero knew his victims, Roldan Agustin, 49, and Vincent Kapoi Jr., 30.

Agustin was born in Laoag City, Philippines, and moved to Hawaii when he was 2, according to his mother, Ida Agustin.

“He’s a good man,” she told The Associated Press through tears.

“I’m so sorry, anak ko, I’m still shaking,” she added Friday, using the phrase “my child” in Ilocano, a Filipino language.

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Family members said Roldan Agustin served in the Navy and retired from the Army National Guard, then became a metals inspector at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard.

In a statement, his brother said Agustin enjoyed working on cars with his friends and spending time with family.

“We will forever remember Roldan to be humble and honest, and a generous and patient man,” the statement said.

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Tara Kapoi said her husband, Vincent, grew up in Waianae, a town on the west side of Oahu.

“We don’t know what happened,” she said Thursday, asking for privacy.

A family statement described him as an “easy-going, fun-loving, ‘let’s do this’ man” they would never forget. Services are scheduled for Dec. 15.

William and Sista Kahiamoe have lived next door to the Kapoi family for about 21 years and said Vincent Kapoi followed his father into civilian work at the shipyard. They said Vincent’s brother now lives in the home.

“He was a good boy, I know that. Took care of his mom when she was sick,” Sista Kahiamoe said. “He was really good.”

College roommate Daniel Vu described Kapoi as a soft-spoken and hardworking “family guy” who woke up at 3 a.m. to work at the fishing docks to pay for tuition. Kapoi graduated from the University of San Francisco in 2011 and was proud of his Native Hawaiian and Filipino heritage, Vu told news website Honolulu Civil Beat.

“He was very giving, very generous and willing to sacrifice a lot,” Vu said. “He was one of the good guys out there.”

Jamie Hiranaka, president of the union representing the three workers, said they were all inspectors who checked welding and other work.

The union, the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers Local 121 Hawaii, said it’s trying to help employees get through the shooting.

“Some were witnesses, others heard the gunshots, others locked down into the closest building they could find, but most were locked in their offices not knowing (what) was happening,” a union statement said. “Many emotions were felt yesterday but most were of fear, terror, sadness and grief.”

Mass shootings and gun violence are rare in Hawaii. The state had the lowest gun death rate among U.S. states in 2017, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. The islands have strict firearms laws, including a ban on assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines.

The Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard repairs, maintains and modernizes the ships and submarines of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, which is headquartered at Pearl Harbor. The base is the home for 10 destroyers, 15 submarines and Air Force units.

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HONOLULU — Officials will beef up security as usual for the ceremony to remember those lost in the attack on Pearl Harbor 78 years ago, with service members and dignitaries confronting a fresh tragedy after a U.S. sailor killed two civilians, wounded another and then turned the gun on himself at the storied military base.

The commemoration of the anniversary of the Japanese bombing that propelled the United States into World War II will go on as planned Saturday, he said. It’s expected to draw survivors, veterans, dignitaries and the public to honor more than 2,300 Americans who perished on Dec. 7, 1941.

“We have not heard of anyone canceling plans to attend the event due to security concerns and want the public to know that it will be a safe, fun and enjoyable day for everyone,” Blount said.

Across the harbor at the naval shipyard, a sailor on Wednesday shot three civilians working for the shipyard on the base, killing two, before taking his own life. The wounded victim was hospitalized in stable condition.

The gunman was 22-year-old G. Romero, according to a military official who spoke on condition of anonymity to provide details that had not been made public.

Romero’s job was to stand watch and provide security for the fast attack submarine USS Columbia, which is at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for maintenance. He used his service rifle to shoot the victims, then killed himself with his service pistol, the official said.

A security guard stands outside the main gate at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, in Hawaii, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. A shooting at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard in Hawaii left at least one person injured Wednesday, military and hospital officials said. Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam spokesman Charles Anthony confirmed that there was an active shooting at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. AP PHOTO

Navy officials said they didn’t know the motive for the shooting. It wasn’t known if the sailor and victims knew each other.

Tara Kapoi told The Associated Press that her 30-year-old husband, Vincent Kapoi Jr., was one of those killed. She said he worked at the shipyard and grew up in Waianae, a town on the west side of Oahu.

“We don’t know what happened,” she said Thursday, asking for privacy.

William and Sista Kahiamoe have lived next door to the Kapoi family for about 21 years. They say Vincent’s brother now lives in the home.

William Kahiamoe said Vincent Kapoi followed his father into civilian work at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard.

“He was a good boy, I know that. Took care of his mom when she was sick,” Sista Kahiamoe said. “He was really good, and he was the oldest child.”

College roommate Daniel Vu described Kapoi as a “family guy” who was soft-spoken and extremely hardworking, known for waking up at 3 a.m. to work at the fishing docks to pay for tuition. He told news website Honolulu Civil Beat that Kapoi graduated from the University of San Francisco in 2011 and was proud of his Native Hawaiian and Filipino heritage.

“He was very giving, very generous and willing to sacrifice a lot,” Vu said. “He was one of the good guys out there.”

Names of the other victims have not been released.

Jamie Hiranaka, the president of the union representing the three workers, said they were all quality assurance inspectors whose job was to check welding and other work completed by shipyard workers.

The union, the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers Local 121 Hawaii, issued a statement Thursday saying it was doing everything possible to help workers get through the shooting.

“Workers were in lockdown on base for hours yesterday; some were witnesses, others heard the gun shots, others locked down into the closest building they could find but most were locked in their offices not knowing (what) was happening. Many emotions were felt yesterday but most were of fear, terror, sadness and grief,” it said.

Mass shootings and gun violence are rare in Hawaii. It had the lowest gun death rate among the states in 2017, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. The islands have strict firearms laws, including a ban on assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines.

In 1999, a Xerox service technician shot and killed seven coworkers in Hawaii. In 2006, a man fatally shot his taxi driver and a couple taking photos of the city lights from a lookout point in the hills above Honolulu.

Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard repairs, maintains and modernizes the ships and submarines of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, which is headquartered at Pearl Harbor. The base is the home for 10 destroyers, 15 submarines and Air Force units.

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TAGS: Filipino Hawaiian shooting victim, gun violence, Pearl Harbor shooting
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