Alumnus Dies in Pearl Harbor Shooting

By Mary McInerney, USF News Posted Fri, 12/06/2019 - 12:59

Vincent Kapoi Jr., a member of the Class of 2011, was one of two people shot and killed at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard in Hawaii this week by a Navy sailor who is reported to have been unhappy with his commanders.

Vincent Kapoi Jr.Kapoi, 30, was remembered by a USF classmate as “everyone’s first friend in college.” He majored in business entrepreneurship and worked as a civilian quality assurance inspector at Pearl Harbor, in addition to selling life insurance and creating a podcast on building wealth. He grew up in Waianae, on Oahu, and was married in April.

University Ministry will remember Kapoi and his family and friends at Mass this week and next.

“I met Vincent in August 2007 in the Gilson lounge, when everyone was still getting used to their new settings, trying to learn new names, trying to understand where they fit in this world,” said Helena Lee, also a member of the Class of 2011. “But not him. He welcomed everyone, hung out with everyone, he was a friend to all those who needed one.”

USF President Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J., said Kapoi’s life was a gift to his friends and family.

“His tragic death takes him from us far, far too soon,” said Fr. Fitzgerald.

Navy officials said they don’t know a motive for the shooting, and it’s unclear if the shooter and the victims knew each other. The shooter, a sailor named G. Romero, killed himself at the scene. A U.S. military official told the Associated Press that Romero was unhappy with his commanders, having faced punishment for minor misconduct.

“Our lives changed forever, and there are so many unanswered questions,” Kapoi’s sister, Theona Kapoi, said in a statement she and family members read outside the gates of the Pearl Harbor base. 

“He will always be that easygoing, fun-loving, ‘let’s do this’ man who will remain in our hearts.”