A sailor shot dead two civilian naval employees and injured a third at the navy base of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. He later turned the gun on himself. The assailant died due to gunshot wounds in a self-inflicted injury. The attack left authorities clueless as to the motive of the killer. The assailant was a regular naval employee who was part of the crew of the submarine USS Columbia. The fast-attack submarine was docked at the naval base for maintenance. BBC has reported that it could not be ascertained immediately as to the type of weapon used or how many shots were fired. Personal weapons are not allowed on base.The attack has come as a surprise, and the Naval base was immediately put on alert and lockdown.

Japanese assault

The attack has come at a time when the anniversary of the Japanese assault on Pearl Harbor is just three days away. On 7th December, the Imperial Navy's carrier task force commanded by Admiral Nagumo mounted an attack on Pearl Harbor, and 2300 US servicemen were killed. It also dragged the US into the war.

The navy has not yet released the names of the victims until next of kin have been notified. The commander of Navy Region Hawaii, Rear Adm. Robert Chadwick, stated that he could not pinpoint any motive of the seaman in killing the two navy employees. A third civilian who was injured has been hospitalized. The news of the shooting was received at 02:30 PM, and immediately, the base went into lockdown mode.

The base reopened a few hours later. The authorities immediately began an investigation and started interviewing eyewitnesses.

The base

The base is an important part of the US Pacific fleet and is home to 10 destroyers and 15 submarines as well as Air force units. The port has extensive repair and docking facilities.

In 1942 the workers at the base repaired the carrier Yorktown within weeks to make it seaworthy for the decisive battle at Midway. This battle thwarted the Imperial navy's bid for dominance of the Pacific.

CBC has reported that Hawaii Governor, David Ige, said the White House had offered assistance from federal agencies.

He further stated that he was perturbed with the killings and offered his heartfelt condolence over the tragedy.

Last word

The incident is extremely serious. One can only imagine what would have happened in case the attack submarine was out at sea, and this man had run amuck. The disaster would have been manifold, and the submarine and crew would be at grave risk. The loss of the warship also could not be ruled out.

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