The Slatest

Pensacola Naval Base Gunman Identified as Saudi Military Officer

A man in a Navy uniform speaks into a number of microphones in the middle of a crowd of reporters.
Capt. Timothy F. Kinsella Jr. speaks to the press after the shooting on the Pensacola Naval Air Base on Friday in Pensacola, Florida. Josh Brasted/Getty Images

The gunman who killed three people at a Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida, has been identified as an officer in the Saudi Air Force who was attending the aviation school there, authorities said Friday. The gunman was killed by a sheriff’s deputy.

The gunman’s motivations are not yet known. The FBI has opened an investigation into whether the shooting was terrorism-related, and Saudi King Salman said his country will cooperate with the investigation.

It’s not unusual for a member of the Saudi military to be stationed at the base. According to the base’s commanding officer, Capt. Timothy Kinsella Jr., the naval base in Pensacola has trained members of other countries’ militaries for decades, and it currently has about 200 international students. In total, roughly 60,000 members of the U.S. military receive training at the base each year.

The gunman, who has been identified as 2nd Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, opened fire in a classroom building on the base Friday morning. In addition to the three who died, two law enforcement officers and six others were injured.

President Donald Trump said on Friday that the Saudi king had given his condolences. In a tweet, Trump said King Salman called to express 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.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, however, struck a different tone when talking to reporters. He asserted that Saudi Arabia is “going to owe a debt here given that it was one of their individuals.” He added, “The government of Saudi Arabia needs to make things better for these victims.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz, whose district includes Pensacola, said on Twitter that he agreed with DeSantis. Gaetz proclaimed the killings to be an “act of terrorism,” and he blamed a failure to properly vet the foreign students at the base.

Friday’s shooting came two days after a U.S. Navy sailor fatally shot two people at Pearl Harbor before killing himself. A motive has not been identified in that shooting.