At Pearl Harbor on Saturday, the bugle call of taps rang out as it has every Dec. 7, in ceremonies marking the Japanese attack of 1941. But this year, the memorial services took on an even more mournful tone, as those at the historic Navy base also stopped to remember two colleagues shot to death there days earlier.
Vincent J. Kapoi Jr. and Roldan A. Agustin were working at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on Wednesday when Machinist Mate Gabriel Romero opened fire at a dry dock, according to Navy investigators. Romero eventually turned the gun on himself.
A third victim, identified only as a 36-year-old man, was hospitalized in stable condition, officials said.
Kapoi, 30, worked as a metals inspector apprentice at the shipyard. His sister, Theona, said in a family statement to the news media: “There are so many unanswered questions. We all have to be honest, it changes nothing because we can’t bring him back.”
The native Hawaiian had a wife, according to a GoFundMe page, and a large ‘ohana — the Hawaiian word for family — “who will never be the same.”
“I’ve been through a lot of tragedy in my life, but nothing compares to losing the love of your life,” Kapoi’s widow, Tara, wrote on the fundraising page. They had married just a few months earlier, according to Honolulu Civil Beat.
Kapoi was “very giving, very generous and willing to sacrifice a lot,” Daniel Vu, a college roommate told Civil Beat. “He was one of the good guys out there.”
Agustin, 49, was a shop planner in nondestructive testing on the base. He had served in the Navy and was retired from the Army National Guard, according to a GoFundMe page.
A native of the Philippines, Agustin moved to Hawaii with his family when he was 2, his mother told The Associated Press.
“He was a loving son, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin, and friend to many. Having grown up in Waipahu, Roldan enjoyed working on cars with his friends and spending time with his family and adored his nieces. We will forever remember Roldan to be humble and honest, and a generous and patient man,” a man identified as his cousin wrote on the GoFundMe site.
Investigators were still trying to piece together evidence and determine a motive in the shooting.
Romero, 22, of Texas, was assigned to work on the submarine USS Columbia, which is in dry dock at Pearl Harbor for routine maintenance.
Military officials have declined to speak about Romero’s military history or possible disciplinary issues, Hawaii News Now reported Friday.
The shooting at Pearl Harbor was one of two such events at Navy facilities this week. On Friday, a Saudi military student opened fire at Naval Air Station Pensacola, killing three people and wounding eight others before he was shot dead.