Pensacola shooting: Saudi students questioned after Navy-base attack

08 Décembre, 2019, 04:50 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Pensacola shooting: Saudi students questioned after Navy-base attack

A Saudi air force officer opened fire in a classroom building at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola on Friday morning, a United States official said, an attack that left three dead in addition to the assailant.

He signaled that investigators are trying to determine whether the shooter acted alone or planned the attack with others.

In a heartbreaking tribute on Facebook, Watson's brother wrote that he 'saved countless lives today with his own'. "He died a hero and we are beyond proud". Eight people were hurt in the attack, including the deputy and a second deputy who was with him. Both deputies were expected to survive. The official was not authorised to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to AP on condition of anonymity.

Two other Saudi students watched from a vehicle, the official said.

The official said 10 Saudi students were being held on the base today while several others were unaccounted for.

News, quoting law enforcement officials, further identified the shooter as Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani. The official also said the Federal Bureau of Investigation was examining social media posts and investigating whether he acted alone or was connected to any broader group. They spoke on condition of anonymity to disclose information that had not yet been made public.

But US Defence Secretary Mark Esper said on Saturday that he would not label the incident as "terrorism" at this point.

US President Donald Trump tweeted that Saudi King Salamn had called him to express his condolences. "He's wanted to be in the military since he was 5 years old", his father said.

Senator Rick Scott, the ex-governor of Florida, called for a review of training programmes for foreign military personnel on United States soil.

Cpt Timothy F Kinsella Jnr, the base's commanding officer, said that about 200 worldwide students were enrolled in programmes there.

"This has been done for many decades", Mr Trump said.

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"I want to make sure that we're doing our due diligence to understand: What are our procedures? We'll start that immediately". Saudi intelligence officials and a forensic doctor killed and dismembered Khashoggi on October 2, 2018, just as his fiancée waited outside the diplomatic mission.

Naval Air Station Pensacola Capt. Tim Kinsella estimated there were a couple hundred foreign students at the base, which employs more than 16,000 military and 7,400 civilian personnel, according to its website.

"We are committed to strengthening defense relationships and building partner capacity and capability while carrying out our mutual security interests and USA foreign policy", said a 2019 catalogue released by the Navy that detailed training for foreign military officers in the United States, including at Pensacola.

Residents of Pensacola mourned the attacks and offered their condolences to the affected members of the community.

Joshua Watson was being praised as a hero by his family.

After being shot multiple times he made it outside and told the first response team where the shooter was and those details were invaluable. "It eventually evolved into pootis and finally uncle poot", he wrote on Facebook.

Benjamin Watson told the News Journal that his son had reported to Pensacola two weeks ago for flight training to live out his dream of becoming a Navy pilot.

Part of the Pensacola base resembles a college campus, with buildings where 60,000 members of the Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard receive training each year in multiple fields of aviation. "He died serving his country", Benjamin Watson said.

The Florida attack was the second shooting to take place at a U.S. military base last week.

On Wednesday, a sailor shot three civilians at the historic Pearl Harbor military base in Hawaii, killing two of them before taking his own life.

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