Despite a shooting spree that left three people dead on Wednesday — including the sailor gunman who took his own life — officials vow to continue with the traditional Dec. 7 Pearl Harbor commemoration.
Saturday marks the 78th anniversary of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, a raid that plunged the United States into World War II.
Pearl Harbor National Memorial spokesman Jay Blount told Navy Times that although the National Park Service shuttered the site on Wednesday when the nearby military base was on lockdown, that won’t be the case on Dec. 7.
“We already have been planning for a long time for a high profile event,” Blount said. “We’ll be open, as usual, for Saturday’s event. It will be a safe and fun family friendly commemoration. No one should be afraid to come and enjoy it.”
Navy officials declined to release publicly any information about the slain shooter — a sailor assigned to the Los Angeles-class attack submarine Columbia, which is undergoing dry dock repairs at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard.
Although Navy Times has learned his identity, the outlet will follow its policy of cloaking the name of the deceased until it’s confirmed that the next of kin has been notified.
Calls by Navy Times to the sailor’s family were unsuccessful on Thursday and Navy leaders wouldn’t say if they had notified them of the man’s death.
Officials in Hawaii said that both Navy and Honolulu city-county authorities will release the identities of the gunman and his two dead victims on Friday.
Like an unnamed patient recovering in stable condition at Queens Medical Center, all three victims were Department of Defense civilian employees assigned to the shipyard.
Officials with the Honolulu Medical Examiner’s office referred all questions regarding the identities of the victims to the office of Mayor Kirk Caldwell.
Caldwell’s spokesman, Andrew Pereira, said release of the victims’ names likely would not occur until Friday, due to ongoing next of kin notifications.
The three men were members of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers Local 121.
“These victims are not only dedicated IFPTE union members, they are hard-working public servants who go to work each day to serve the taxpayers and our military forces,” read a statement released Thursday afternoon by the union. “They are reflective of the thousands of workers at Pearl Harbor and elsewhere that go to work to earn a living and secure their nation.”
“No worker should have to go to work without the expectation of safely returning to their family and loved ones,” the statement adds.
IFPTE spokeswoman Candace Rhett did not immediately respond to questions Thursday regarding workplace safety at the base.
Navy officials also remained silent on reports that the union workers were gunned down by a sailor wielding a service weapon for guard duty, shortly after he was the target of an informal non-judicial punishment hearing.
“We have no indication yet whether they were targeted or if it was a random shooting,” Rear Adm. Robert B. Chadwick II, the commander of Navy Region Hawaii, told reporters on Wednesday.
In an email to Navy Times, Naval Criminal Investigative Service spokesman Jeffrey Houston confirmed that NCIS “is leading the investigation with substantial support from the FBI.”
President Donald J. Trump promised Wednesday to assist state officials in the aftermath of the slayings.
“The President has been briefed on the shooting at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii and continues to monitor the situation,” according to a White House statement.
Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam spokesman Chuck Anthony told Navy Times on Thursday evening that his base “is open, with the exception of certain sections of the shipyard, and normal activity is going on."
Capt. Greg Burton, commanding officer of the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, took to Facebook to offer his condolences to the families and friends of those killed.
“If you are hurting, there is help readily available,” Burton said in the statement.
Any coworkers or family members who need to talk to someone about the tragedy can call 808-471-3789 or 1-844-366-2327. Chaplain and counseling services also are available at 808-285-7447.
“Looking ahead, we will honor the life and legacy of those lost,” Burton said. “Even now, as we mourn the loss of members of our ‘Ohana, please take the opportunity to reconnect with each other and to reinforce and strengthen the bonds with each other. We value each one of you.”