A general view of the atmosphere at the Pensacola Naval Air Station following a shooting on December 06, 2019 in Pensacola, Florida.Josh Brasted/Getty Images
- Authorities revealed that the shooting attack on Pensacola’s Naval Air Station was being investigated as an act of terrorism after multiple reports.
- Three young service members were killed and eight were injured when 21-year-old 2nd Lt. Mohammed Alshamrani of the Royal Saudi Air Force opened fire on the base.
- Rachel Rojas, FBI special agent in charge, said at a Sunday news conference that authorities were reported to be probing the identified shooter’s friends to “discern if any possible ideology” was a motivation for the attack.
- Reports immediately after the attack said the shooter held a dinner party before the attack to watch mass shooting videos and one of the three students who had attended recorded the shooting, but Rojas did not confirm such reports.
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Authorities revealed that the shooting attack on Naval Air Station Pensacola was being investigated as an act of terrorism after multiple reports revealed disturbing details about the shooter’s possible motives.
“We work with the presumption that this was an act of terrorism,” Rachel Rojas, FBI special agent in charge, said at a Sunday news conference reported by multiple outlets, before saying investigators were still trying to determine a motive and cautioning that “investigation has not led us to any information that indicated any credible threat to our community.”
Three young service members were killed and eight were injured when 21-year-old 2nd Lt. Mohammed Alshamrani of the Royal Saudi Air Force opened fire in a classroom armed with a 9-millimeter handgun and several extra magazines before he was killed by responding officers.
In the day following the attack, authorities were reported to be probing the identified shooter’s friends to “discern if any possible ideology” acted as motivation for the attack, Rojas said Sunday.
All international students at the Pensacola base have been accounted for and there is no immediate threat to the community, Rojas said.
“There are a number of Saudi students who are close to the shooter and continue to cooperate in this investigation,” Rojas said. “The Saudi government has pledged to fully cooperate with our investigation.”
This undated photo provided by the FBI shows Mohammed Alshamrani, the Saudi student opened fire inside a classroom at Naval Air Station Pensacola on Friday before one of the deputies killed him.FBI via AP
The Associated Press reported that an anonymous official said investigators believe the gunman visited various tourist sites in New York City in the days before the shooting. Rojas would not confirm or comment on the report.
The AP also reported that the shooting suspect held a dinner party before the attack to watch mass shooting videos and one of the three students who attended recorded the shooting while two other Saudi students watched from a nearby car.
US Defense Secretary Mark Esper confirmed that report on “Fox News Sunday,” adding that it was unclear if the individual had been “filming it before it began or was it something where they picked up their phones and filmed it once they saw it unfolding.”
The shooter was one of more than 850 Saudi nationals who are in the US for training, and more than 5,000 total foreign students from 153 countries are currently in the country for military training, according to the AP.
The attack came at an already tense time for US-Saudi relations, but President Donald Trump did not jump to condemn the country or the programs hosting foreign nationals, but he pledged to “look into the whole procedure.”
“This has been done for many decades,” Trump said Saturday. “I guess we’re going to have to look into the whole procedure. We’ll start that immediately.”