Family mourns Pearl Harbor shipyard worker killed in shooting by sailor

"He will always be that easygoing, fun-loving, 'let's do this' man that will remain in our hearts," the sister of Vincent Kapoi Jr. said.

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By Phil Helsel

The family of one of the two civilian Defense Department employees killed at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard by a sailor Wednesday says that their lives will never be the same.

"Our lives changed forever," the day Vincent Kapoi Jr. was killed, his sister said in a statement to the media Thursday.

Kapoi was described as a son, uncle, friend, husband and brother. "He will always be that easy-going, fun-loving, 'let's do this' man that will remain in our hearts," she said.

The Navy identified the shooter Friday afternoon as Machinist’s Mate Auxiliary Fireman Gabriel Antonio Romero of Texas. Authorities said he killed two people and wounded a third before fatally shooting himself.

Romero was assigned to the USS Columbia, a submarine undergoing routine maintenance in dry-dock at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, according to a Navy statement. He enlisted Dec. 11, 2017, the Navy said.

The other civilian killed was identified as Roldan A. Agustin, a shop planner at the shipyard.

An additional civilian shipyard employee, identified Wednesday only as a 36-year-old man, survived the shooting and was stable at a hospital Friday, said Norman J. Dominesey, special agent in charge of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service's Hawaii office.

The shooting happened about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at the shipyard at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

A motive in the shooting, which occurred three days before the anniversary of the Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor, was also unclear.

"There are so many unanswered questions," Kapoi's sister said in the statement. "We all have to be honest: It changes nothing, because we can't bring him back. What we do have to do, and we must do, is honor his memory, keep him alive in our hearts — and please keep him in your hearts, and always remember good times."

The International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers said in a statement that the three victims were members of Local 121 and sent its deepest condolences to their families.

"No worker should have to go to work without the expectation of safely returning to their family and loved ones," the union said.

Local 121 President Jamie Hiranaka said: "Yesterday was an experience that will forever be ingrained in the minds of our members and all the workers at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard," according to NBC affiliate KHNL of Honolulu.

The worker who survived is a 36-year-old man who was stable at The Queen’s Medical Center Thursday, a hospital system spokeswoman said.

"We are saddened by this incident, and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families," Rear Adm. Robert Chadwick, commander of Navy Region Hawaii, said in a statement.

He said security forces are working closely with investigators and that counseling and other support have been made available to all who need it.

Andrew Blankstein, Mosheh Gains and Dennis Romero contributed.