U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Sunday that he has instructed the armed forces to review their screening processes of foreign soldiers following a deadly shooting at a U.S. naval base in Florida.
Speaking on Fox News Sunday, Esper said one of the first things he did following the killing of three people Friday was he “asked that we begin a review of what “our screening procedures are with regard to foreign nationals coming to the United States”.
The FBI has officially identified the shooter at the U.S. naval base in Pensacola, Florida who shot and killed three people Friday.
The shooter was Mohammed Alshamrani, a 21-year-old second lieutenant in the Royal Saudi Air Force who was a student naval flight officer at the Naval Aviation Schools Command at Naval Air Station Pensacola. The FBI has not determined a motive for Alshamrani’s rampage.
The victims were also students at the flight school. They have been identified as Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, from Coffee, Alabama; Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, 19, from St. Petersburg, Florida; and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters, 21, from Richmond Hill, Georgia.
“The sorrow from the tragic event on NAS Pensacola will have a lasting impact on our installation and community,” Captain Tim Kinsella, the commanding officer of the naval base said in a statement.
Eight people were wounded in the shooting naval base, officials say.
The shooter, who was also killed in the incident, is reported to have hosted a dinner party earlier in the week where he showed videos of mass U.S. shootings to his guests, according to media reports. At least one of his guests is reported to have videotaped Friday’s massacre. Several Saudi students are being held for questioning.
Before the pilot opened fire at the base, he tweeted a will and quoted Osama bin Laden in justifying his actions, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which translates jihadist threats and communications.
In the Twitter post, he said America “has turned into a nation of evil.” He condemned the U.S. for its support of Israel and its invasion of Muslim countries and many other countries. Using a bin Laden quote, he also said that the security of the U.S. and Muslims is a “shared destiny.” He added, “You will not be safe until we live it as reality in pleastain [sic], and American troops get our of lands.”
Guns are not permitted at the Pensacola Naval Air Station, but Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said the shooter managed to get a handgun onto the base before targeting individuals at one of the buildings. Officials said the rampage ended when a sheriff’s deputy cornered and shot the suspect in a classroom.
King Salman of Saudi Arabia just called to express his sincere condolences and give his sympathies to the families and friends of the warriors who were killed and wounded in the attack that took place in Pensacola, Florida….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 6, 2019
“It’s a horrible thing that took place and we’re getting to the bottom of it,” @POTUS tells reporters.
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) December 6, 2019
In a statement, Salman called the shooting a “heinous crime” and said he expressed his sorrow over the attack in his phone call with Trump. The king said he has directed Saudi security services to cooperate with American agencies to uncover information that will help determine the cause of the “horrific attack.”
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