- The suspect in the deadly shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida, a Saudi military service member in the US for training, held a dinner party before the attack to watch mass shooting videos, a US official told the Associated Press.
- During the attack, another Saudi student, one of three who attended the party, reportedly filmed the shooting at the US naval base while two others watched from a car.
- Ten Saudi students have reportedly been detained for questioning. Some of the Saudi nationals at the base are, however, currently unaccounted for.
The suspect in the deadly shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida held a dinner party before the attack to watch mass shooting videos, a US official briefed on the situation by federal authorities told the Associated Press.
The suspect, a member of the Saudi Air Force who was in the US for training, shot and killed three people and wounded another seven Friday in a horrific act of violence. During the attack, another Saudi student, one of three who reportedly attended the dinner party, filmed the shooting at the US naval base.
Two other Saudi students are said to have watched from a car.
Ten Saudi students have reportedly been detained for questioning. Some of the Saudi nationals at the base are, however, currently unaccounted for.
The suspect has been identified as Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani. An analysis by SITE Intel Group of what is believed to be the suspect’s Twitter page, a social media account that has since been suspended, said the page featured posts that echoed Osama bin Laden, Rita Katz, SITE’s director, wrote on Twitter.
The user, who is believed to be the suspect, reportedly wrote that the security of the US and the Muslim world is a “shared destiny,” explaining, “You will not be safe until we live it as reality in [Palestine], and American troops get out of our land.”
Katz noted that the tweets did not indicate allegiance to any one group. “Given that ISIS has very little to lose at this point, it wouldn’t be surprising if it claimed the attack, regardless of the attacker’s potential allegiances,” she speculated.
The Associated Press reported that US authorities are investigating the situation to determine whether or not Friday’s attack was an act of terrorism. Authorities have yet to determine a motive.
Alshamrani was involved in a special training program for foreign military service members and was, according to USA Today, one of 5,180 students from 153 countries in the US for training.
“Immersing international students in our U.S. Navy training and culture helps build partnership capacity for both the present and for the years ahead,” a senior officer overseeing the training previously said. “These relationships are truly a win-win for everyone involved.”
In the wake of the shooting, some have called for this program to be re-evaluated.
—Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) December 6, 2019
Florida Sen. Rick Scott posted on Twitter Friday afternoon that “it’s 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.”
Update: The Associated Press initially reported that the party took place the night before the attack, but it actually took place earlier in the week.