No one is saying this is terrorism at this point but authorities are certainly going to consider that a possibility in light of this information. The mass shooting took place this morning at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida this morning. Three people were killed and several more were wounded. In addition, the shooter was shot and killed by responding sheriff’s deputies. At a press conference, the county sheriff declined to give out much information citing the ongoing investigation, but NBC News is now reporting that the person who carried out the shooting was a Saudi national:
The suspected gunman who killed three people and injured several others at a naval base in Pensacola, Florida, on Friday morning was a Saudi national, according to law enforcement sources.
Sources identified the shooter, who was killed in the incident, as Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani.
The FBI was the lead agency in charge of the investigation as of Friday afternoon.
Again, we can’t draw any firm conclusions yet about the motive. What we do know is that he apparently was killed in a shootout with deputies who were also wounded:
Two Escambia County sheriff’s deputies were on scene immediately after reports of a shots fired at about 6:50 a.m. local time. They were injured in an exchange of gunfire with the shooter, authorities said.
One was shot in the arm and the other was shot in the leg and was in surgery, Chief Deputy Chip Simmons said during a morning news conference. They are both expected to survive.
“Walking through the crime scene was like being on the set of a movie,” Sheriff David Morgan told reporters.
Just a short while ago as I write this, there was another briefing for the media. Base commander Captain Tim Kinsella, said, “There was some real heroism today. I mean real heroism.” He added, “I’m devastated. We are in shock. This is surreal. But I couldn’t be prouder to wear the uniform that I wear because of my brothers and sisters in uniform, civilian or otherwise, that did what they did today to save lives.”
This is the second shooting at a Naval base this week. Wednesday an active duty sailor shot and killed two civilian employees and wounded a third before turning the gun on himself at Pearl Harbor. The exact motive for that shooting is still unclear but the AP reported earlier today that shooter Gabriel Romero was “unhappy with his commanders and had been undergoing counseling.” The cause of his unhappiness isn’t spelled out but the story adds that he “also faced non-judicial punishment.” So that sound like a workplace shooting motivated by personal issues.
Here’s video of the press conference. The suggestion I get from listening to all of this is that this shooting might have been much worse if not for the reactions of people at the base and the deputies who responded. Near the end of this clip the Sheriff does confirm that the shooter used a handgun, but that’s about all he’s saying for now. We’ll have to await a briefing from the FBI to get the full story.
Update: President Trump has sent out several tweets about the shooting today.