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Pearl Harbor commemoration to go on after fresh tragedy

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 National Park Service, which is hosting the event with the Navy, would not give specifics on the heightened security measures, many of which aren’t readily apparent, Pearl Harbor National Memorial spokesman Jay Blount said.

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 shot three men working for the U.S. Department on Defense on Wednesday, 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 on 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.

Rear Adm. Robert Chadwick, commander of Navy Region Hawaii, said he didn’t know the motive for the shooting. It wasn’t known if the sailor and victims knew each other, he said.

“We have no indication yet whether they were targeted or if it was a random shooting,” Chadwick said.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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