SUNDAY 3:30 P.M. UPDATE:
FBI Officials announced Sunday that they are now investigating Friday’s shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola as a terrorist act, and more than 100 agents are working on the case.
“We work with the presumption that this was an act of terrorism,” Rachel Rojas, FBI special agent in charge, said during a news conference. She added that the “investigation has not led us to any information that indicated any credible threat to our community.”
The shooter has been identified as 21-year-old Mohammed Alshamrani, a Saudi student at the base.
The gunman is believed the have visited New York City, including Rockefeller Center, in the days before the shooting, according to a U.S. official. He is said to have purchased the Glock Model 45 9mm used in the attack legally.
The first victim, 23-year-old Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, a student from Coffee, Alabama, was identified Saturday.
The identities of the other two victims have now been released. They are:
Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters, Student, Naval Aviation Schools Command, 21, from Richmond Hill, Georgia
#UPDATE: #USNavy releases names of the Sailors Killed in @NASPCOLA Shooting. "We feel the loss profoundly and grieve with the family and friends of the deceased." – Capt. Tim Kinsella, CO, NAS Pensacola https://t.co/mhqmUBehI7 pic.twitter.com/tQuSGtf3Wh
— U.S. Navy (@USNavy) December 8, 2019
All international students at the base have now been accounted for.
Meanwhile, the Navy Chief of Information has released the following statement:
“The sorrow from the tragic event on NAS Pensacola will have a lasting impact on our installation and community,” said Capt. Tim Kinsella, commanding officer, NAS Pensacola. “We feel the loss profoundly and grieve with the family and friends of the deceased. The Sailors that lost their lives in the line of duty and showed exceptional heroism and bravery in the face of evil. When confronted, they didn’t run from danger; they ran towards it and saved lives. If not for their actions, and the actions of the Naval Security Force that were the first responders on the scene, this incident could have been far worse.”
SATURDAY 3:15 P.M. UPDATE:
A U.S. official says the Saudi student who fatally shot three people at Naval Air Station Pensacola on Friday morning had hosted a dinner party the night before in order to watch videos of mass shootings.
The official, who has been briefed by federal investigators, spoke on condition of anonymity.
He says authorities have informed him that one Saudi student was recording outside the building as the shooting took place, while took others allegedly watched from a car.
In addition, he claims that 10 Saudi students are being held at the base, and that several others remain unaccounted for.
Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, is the first victim to be identified. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy this year, and is credited with alerting first responders to where the shooter was, even after he had been shot numerous times.
SATURDAY 11 A.M. UPDATE:
Officials have identified the suspect in Friday’s deadly shooting at the Naval Air Station Pensacola as 21-year-old Saudi military student, Ahmed Mohammed al-Shamrani.
He opened fired just before 7 a.m. Friday in a classroom building, killing three people and injuring 12 others.
One of the two sheriff’s deputies who were injured has been released from the hospital, while the other is recovering after surgery, according to Escambia County Sheriff Major Andrew Hobbs said Saturday morning. He added that deputies arrived on the scene within three to four minutes, fatally shooting the gunman.
Details on the condition of the six others who were injured were not immediately available.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into al-Shamrani’s past and motives, although the agency does not believe at this time that he was linked to any foreign terrorist group.
About two hours before the deadly shooting spree, tweets purportedly written by the suspect criticized the U.S. for its support of Israel, as well as for stationing troops at bases in Saudi Arabia.
The messages were posted at 5:39 a.m. ET Friday with a profile photo that resembles an overhead shot of the naval air station.
FBI officials have not confirmed the authenticity of the tweets, which were addressed to “O American people” and outlined a hatred of the U.S. for crimes against Muslims, including the detention of suspects in Guantanamo Bay.
According to ABC News, one of the messages stated: “I’m against evil, and America as a whole has turned into a nation of evil… I’m not against you for just being American, I don’t hate you because your freedoms, I hate you because every day you supporting, funding and committing crimes not only against Muslims but also humanity.”
Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed his government’s “deep distress” over the shooting. He added, “The American people are held in the highest regard by the Saudi people.”
Vice Minister of Defense Khalid bin Salman also tweeted that he and Saudi military personnel have trained on U.S. military bases and fought ‘’against terrorism and other threats’’ with American forces. In addition, “Today’s tragic event is strongly condemned by everyone in Saudi Arabia,’’ he said.
President Trump tweeted:
….The King said that the Saudi people are greatly angered by the barbaric actions of the shooter, and that this person in no way shape or form represents the feelings of the Saudi people who love the American people.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 6, 2019
Meanwhile, Florida U.S. Senator Rick Scott issued a statement referring to the shooting as an act of terrorism “whether this individual was motivated by radical Islam or was simply mentally unstable.”
He added that it was “clear that we need to take steps to ensure that any and all foreign nationals are scrutinized and vetted extensively before being embedded with our American men and women in uniform.”
Governor Ron DeSantis ordered that the flags of the U.S. and the state of Florida be lowered immediately and flown at half-staff to honor the victims of the shooting. The order applies to all local and state buildings throughout the state.
ORIGINAL STORY: Two sheriff’s deputies are among those injured during this morning’s shooting in a classroom at a Pensacola Naval Air Station.
The deputies suffered non-life threatening injuries and are being treated at a hospital. One was shot in the arm, the other shot in the knee.
Officials say the shooter is dead and the threat is over.
There are reports of three dead and at least 10 injuries at Naval Air Station Pensacola, which was put on lockdown. This is the second active shooter event in three days at a naval base, coming only two days after an attack at Pearl Harbor killed two people. There are more than 16-thousand people who work at the Florida base and it’s the base out of which the Blue Angels operate.
Authorities are responding to reports of a shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office said. The station employs more than 16,000 military personnel.
This is a developing story. https://t.co/tDgi8RLWob
— The New York Times (@nytimes) December 6, 2019
Escambia County Sheriffs Office as of 7:15 a.m. there was an active shooter at NAS Pensacola. There are reports of injuries. We are working to gather more information and will bring it to you as soon as it is available.
Baptist Hospital confirms that five currently patients are in their care.
A resident who lives in the neighborhood says she learned about the incident after receiving an all-call. She says the all-call advised everyone to get somewhere safe and that the base is under lockdown.