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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Saudi airman sole suspect in U.S. naval base massacre: FBI

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Saudi airman sole suspect in U.S. naval base massacre: FBI
Saudi airman sole suspect in U.S. naval base massacre: FBI

Investigators believe a Saudi Air Force lieutenant acted alone when he killed three people and wounded eight at a U.S. Navy base in Pensacola, Florida, before being fatally shot by a deputy sheriff, the FBI said on Sunday.

Federal investigators on Sunday said they believe that Saudi airman Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani acted alone when he went on a shooting rampage at a U.S. Navy base in Florida Friday, leaving three people dead and eight others wounded.

(SOUND BITE) FBI SPECIAL AGENT, RACHEL ROJAS, SAYING: "Our main goal right now is to confirm whether he acted alone or was he part of a larger network.

We currently asses there was one gunman who perpetrated this attack and no arrests have been made in this case." Authorities confirmed the suspect was the 21-year-old Second Lieutenant, a Saudi national and a pilot-in-training for the Saudi Air Force.

He was shot and killed by a sheriff's deputy who responded to the shooting.

The FBI says it's still too soon to determine the motive behind the horrific attack.

But a group that tracks Islamist extremism on the internet reported the Saudi national had quoted the late al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden on social media.

That post came from inside a classroom at the Naval Air Station, just hours before the gunman fired what officials now say was a legally purchased Glock 45.

(SOUND BITE) FBI SPECIAL AGENT, RACHEL ROJAS, SAYING: "The gun, weapon, that was a 45 Glock nine millimeter.

That has been confirmed.

He did purchase it legally and lawfully.

Alshamrani was visiting the U.S. for military training.

Hundreds of Saudis are currently in the U.S. for training related to security cooperation, and U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on "Fox News Sunday" he is securing all military bases after the Florida massacre.

(SOUND BITE) U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY MARK ESPER, SAYING: "I want to immediately and make sure we send out an advisory to all of our bases and installations and facilities and make sure we're taking all necessary precautions appropriate to the particular base to make sure our people are safe and secure." Officials say several Saudi students who were friends with the shooter are cooperating with investigators and have been restricted to base by their Saudi commanding officer.

The shooting spree in Florida happened in the same week a sailor shot three civilians at the Pearl harbor military base in Hawaii.

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