Las Vegas shooting stirs memories of 1979 Waikiki sniper attack - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Las Vegas shooting stirs memories of 1979 Waikiki sniper attack

(Image: KGMB archives/Hawaii News Now) (Image: KGMB archives/Hawaii News Now)
WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Graphic images from Sunday's Las Vegas shooting are stirring memories of a previous sniper-style attack in Hawaii almost 40 years ago. 

It was Saturday August 25, 1979. 

Masses of tourists filled Waikiki when shots rang out from the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center — which was still under construction.

"At about 5:55 last night, a burst of gunfire rang out from a construction site on the makai side of Kalakaua Avenue, in front of the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel," former KGMB reporter Elisa Yadao said in an archived report. 

Five people were wounded by bullets fired from a 22 caliber rifle. 

"I heard a crack like a firecracker. Then I heard a man yell that his wife had been shot. I came back to help the man, try to stop the bleeding," witness Gerald Hatfield said after the shooting. 

Honolulu police arrested Robert Miller for the attack. 

Miller was the lone gunman in the shooting. He was released from the state hospital in Kaneohe just months before the incident. 

Yadao told Hawaii News Now the Vegas shooting is heartbreaking on a whole new level. 

"It certainly ended up being nothing at all like what people in Las Vegas suffered and my heart goes out to all of those people," Yadao said. "It almost feels weird to compare it because the magnitude is so different. But at the point in time, we didn't know, it was just a sniper with live fire in Waikiki."

The head of the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association Mufi Hannenman says incidents like these are a major fear for the industry.

"Public safety is very very important. It's why people come here besides our sun, sand, sea and surf, our spirit of aloha and our people," Hanneman said.

"They know this is one of the safest places in the world to visit and we want to maintain that," he added. 

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