The 36-year-old Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard worker who survived a shooting at the base continued his convalescence today, issuing a statement urging the public to respect his family’s privacy.
The Queen’s Medical Center, which distributed the statement, said shipyard apprentice Roger Nakamine remained in stable condition. The statement did not detail what injuries Nakamine sustained.
Nakamine had not previously been identified as the shooting’s sole survivor.
“My family and I would like to express our gratitude to the first responders and the expert medical staff at Queen’s, as well as to all the friends and extended ʻohana who have been reaching out to offer their support physically, emotionally and spiritually,” Nakamine said. “Our deepest condolences go out to the friends and families of Vincent Kapoi Jr. and Roldan Agustin. We ask that the media please respect our privacy as we all continue to grieve and heal.”
Nakamine and his family are not doing any media interviews for the time being, the statement said.
Military officials identified Seaman Gabriel Antonio Romero of Texas as the 22-year-old sailor who used two service weapons to fatally shoot Kapoi and Agustin, two civilian shipyard workers, and injure Nakamine before killing himself around mid-afternoon Wednesday. His motive remains unclear.
Romero had been undergoing counseling because he was unhappy with his commanders, a military official told the Associated Press on Friday. An official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the sailor faced nonjudicial punishment, an administrative process for minor misconduct that does not merit a court-martial.
He was assigned to the nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Columbia, based at Pearl Harbor. The sub is in the shipyard for maintenance.
At the National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Commemoration ceremony this morning at the USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center, U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and the four other speakers expressed condolences for the victims of Wednesday’s shooting as well a separate shooting Thursday at Pensacola Naval Air Station in Florida.
The Florida incident involved a military student from Saudi Arabia who shot and killed three people and wounded several others before sheriffs shot and killed him.
Rear Adm. Robb Chadwick, commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, said, “Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families of the victims and everyone affected. But I should also highlight the amazing outpouring of love and support in the local community. We have definitely felt the sense of ohana that has embraced the military community here for generations.”
Shipyard workers who spoke to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser but declined to be identified because they are not authorized to speak to the media said there have been multiple gunshot suicides over the years at the shipyard and two within the past few months, but they could not recall a past murder.
Romero, a machinist’s mate, on Wednesday was assigned as watch-stander for the submarine, officials said.
A joint news conference Friday just outside Pearl Harbor with military and civilian officials abruptly ended after brief statements and only two questions from the news media.
The officials did not answer questions on whether the gunman had been disciplined in the past or was facing disciplinary review and — if so — why he was allowed to be armed with an M-4 rifle and an M-9 pistol to guard the USS Columbia.