A sailor on Wednesday shot three civilians, killing two of them, before taking his own life at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Honolulu just days before thousands were to gather at the storied military base to mark the 78th anniversary of the Japanese bombing that launched the US into World War II.
US Rear Admiral Robert Chadwick, the commander of Navy Region Hawaii, said the service would evaluate whether security would need to be upgraded ahead of the annual ceremony.
About a dozen survivors of the Dec. 7, 1941, bombing were expected to attend, along with dignitaries and service members.
Chadwick said he did not know the motive behind the shootings at the naval shipyard within the base. The third victim was hospitalized.
It was not known if the sailor and the three male civilians had any type of relationship, or what the motive was for the shooting, Chadwick said.
“We have no indication yet whether they were targeted or if it was a random shooting,” Chadwick said.
The sailor was assigned to the fast-attack submarine USS Columbia, which is at the base for maintenance.
Details about the sailor were not immediately released.
It was not immediately known what type of weapon was used or how many shots were fired.
Chadwick said that was part of the investigation.
Personal weapons are not allowed on the base.
Names of those who were killed would not be released until next of kin have been notified.
“Our thoughts are with the families of the victims and everyone involved. I can say that we are mobilizing support services for naval shipyard personnel as well as everyone else who may be affected by this tragic event,” Chadwick said.
The base went into lockdown at about 2:30pm, when the first active-shooter reports were received. The base reopened a few hours later. Witnesses were still being interviewed hours after the shooting.
The shipyard repairs, maintains and modernizes the ships and submarines of the US Pacific Fleet, which is headquartered at Pearl Harbor.
The base is the home port for 10 destroyers and 15 submarines. It also hosts US Air Force units.
Hawaii Governor David Ige said that the White House has offered assistance from federal agencies and that the state is also ready to help if needed.
“I join in solidarity with the people of Hawaii as we express our heartbreak over this tragedy and concern for those affected by the shooting,” Ige said in a statement.
Hawaii has strict firearms laws, including a ban on assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines.
The shipyard is across the harbor from the wreckage of USS Arizona, which sank in the 1941 Japanese attack.
It is also across from the visitors center, which is to host tomorrow’s ceremony.
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