After Pensacola Shooting, Now Six Saudi Nationals Have Been Arrested In Connection, Including Three FILMING The Incident

Yesterday, we reported that a Saudi national was arrested at a Naval base in Pensacola, Florida after a shooting spree that murdered at least three people. Six more Saudi nationals have been arrested, including at least three who were involved in filming the incident.

The Air Force trainee who killed three and injured eight when he opened fire at a naval base in Florida assailed the United States as ‘a nation of evil’ before he went on his shooting rampage, AFP reports.

The man, first identified by NBC News as Saudi national Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, opened fire inside a classroom at Naval Air Station in Pensacola early Friday morning. Police quickly responded to the scene and he was shot dead.

US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation, said the suspect was a second lieutenant attending the aviation school at the base.

Meanwhile six other Saudi nationals were arrested near the base shortly after the attack, as investigators began to probe a terror link.

Three of the six were seen filming the entire incident as it unfolded, a source told The New York Times on Friday evening.

No officials have yet stated whether any of them were students inside the classroom where the shooting occurred.

Military from around the globe attend the Naval Air Station in Pensacola for flight training.

President Donald Trump this afternoon tweeted that he spoke on the phone with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, who he said expressed ‘sincere condolences’ to those impacted by the shooting.

Trump added that King Salman informed him the Saudi people love Americans and ‘are greatly angered by the barbaric actions of the shooter…’

Shortly before 8pm Eastern Time, Saudi officials condemned the shooting and claimed they are willing to cooperate with the investigation.

The shooter opened fire in a classroom building shortly before 7am Friday. The attack left four people dead, including the assailant, and eight others wounded.

During an afternoon press briefing, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis confirmed the shooter was from Saudi Arabia, which has long relied on the US to train it military officers.

‘There’s obviously going to be a lot of questions about this individual being a foreign national, being a part of the Saudi air force and then to be here training on our soil,’ DeSantis told reporters.

‘Obviously the government of Saudi Arabia needs to make things better for these victims. And I think they are going to owe a debt here given that this is one of their individuals.’

Of the 19 men involved in the September 11 attacks, 15 were Saudi and some of them attended flight school in Florida.

In recent weeks, 18 naval aviators and two aircrew members from the Royal Saudi Naval Forces were training with the US Navy, including at Pensacola, according to a November 15 press release from the Navy. It was not clear if the suspected shooter was part of that delegation.

The delegation came under a Navy program that offers training to US allies, known as the Naval Education and Training Security Assistance Field Activity.

A person familiar with the program said that Saudi Air Force officers selected for military training in the United States are intensely vetted by both countries.

In the 2018 fiscal year, some 62,700 foreign military students from 155 countries participated in U.S.-run training, the total cost of which was approximately $776.3 million, according to DoD records.

Among them is a contingent Saudis who recently arrived at Naval Air Station Pensacola.

In recent weeks, 18 naval aviators and two aircrew members from the Royal Saudi Naval Forces were training with the U.S. Navy, including a stint at Pensacola, according to a November 15 press release from the Navy.

It was not clear if the suspected shooter was part of that delegation.

The delegation came under a Navy program that offers training to U.S. allies, known as the Naval Education and Training Security Assistance Field Activity.

A person familiar with the program said that Saudi Air Force officers selected for military training in the United States are intensely vetted by both countries.

The Saudi personnel are ‘hand-picked’ by their military and often come from elite families, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they did not have permission to speak to a reporter. Trainees must speak excellent English, the person said.

Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Washington did not respond to questions.

Saudi Arabia, a major purchaser of U.S. arms, accounts for a massive portion of America’s spending on foreign military training.

In the 2018 fiscal year, the U.S. trained 1,753 Saudi military members at an estimated cost of $120,903,786, according to DoD records.

For fiscal year 2019, the State Department planned to train roughly 3,150 Saudis in the U.S.
-Keith Griffith for DailyMail.com and Reuters

The Saudi personnel are ‘hand-picked’ by their military and often come from elite families, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they did not have permission to speak to a reporter. Trainees must speak excellent English, the person said.

Officials announced Friday morning that the shooter was killed by two Escambia County Sheriff’s deputies, who were injured during the exchange.

Three of the fatally injured people were pronounced dead at the scene and the fourth passed away at the hospital.
‘This was an act of terrorism,’ Rep Matt Gaetz, a Republican representing Pensacola, told the station WEAR.

The congressman said the investigation into the shooting has been handed over from NCIS to the FBI, signaling that it was ‘not an act of workplace violence,’ but rather an act of terror.

After news broke that the suspect was a Saudi national, Donald Trump tweeted that ‘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.’

The President continued: ‘The King said 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.’

Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said a 911 call was received at 6.51am central time reporting an active shooter on base.

Two deputies confronted the gunman inside a classroom building and exchanged gunfire, killing the perpetrator.

It has since been revealed that the gunman was armed with a handgun.

One of the officers suffered a gunshot wound to the arm, while the other was shot in the knee and underwent surgery. (source)

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