What we know about the Saudi national suspect in the Pensacola Navy base shooting

Nate Chute, Annie Blanks and Joel Shannon USA TODAY

Dec 6, 2019

A Saudi national has been identified by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as the suspect in a Friday morning shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida, that left four dead, including the suspect, and eight people wounded.

The gunman was training in aviation at the base, which hosts military from around the globe, DeSantis said. The FBI has taken the lead in the investigation.
The shooter, identified by three sources as Mohammed Alshamrani, began his three-year course in August 2017 with English, basic aviation and initial pilot training, said the officials, who were not authorized to speak publicly due to the ongoing investigation.

He was one of 852 Saudi nationals in the United States training under the Pentagon’s security cooperation agreement with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, according to a Defense official.

The gunman has been decried as “barbaric” by King Salman of Saudi Arabia, according to President Donald Trump.

“Obviously, the government of Saudi Arabia needs to make things better for these victims,” DeSantis said in a press conference. “They’re going to owe a debt here.”
Here’s what we know about the Saudi national and why he was at the base.

Why was a Saudi national taking classes at a US Naval base?

Officials said the shooter was taking part in an aviation training program at the Naval Air Station. Training international students at NAS Pensacola is a core part of the base’s mission.

The base’s Naval Education and Training Security Assistance Field Activity International Training Center is a department on base that specializes in training aviators from other countries and forging international partnerships.

NITC has several partnerships with the Royal Saudi Air Forces, including an undergraduate pilot basic aviation preparatory training course, a senior executive leadership course and a junior officer enhanced leadership course.

Commanding Officer Capt. Tim Kinsella said Friday that “a couple hundred” international students are training at the base.

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Pensacola, Fla. (Mar. 17, 2004 Ð USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) arrives at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., for a four-day port visit after completing a Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMTUEX) in the Gulf of Mexico. COMPTUEX is an intermediate level exercise designed to forge the strike group into a cohesive fighting team and is a critical step in pre-deployment training. During COMPTUEX, more than a dozen ships, and Carrier Air Wing Seventeen (CVW-17) embarked on Kennedy, conducted war game exercises using training ranges along the East Coast of the U.S. and the Gulf of Mexico. The exercise took advantage of existing ranges under the NavyÕs comprehensive Training Resource Strategy (TRS). These ranges offer training facilities and realistic simulations, better preparing U.S. Navy ships and Sailors to participate in the Global War on Terrorism. U.S. Navy photo by Patrick Nichols. (RELEASED)

3 replies

  1. Of course I am not defending this shooting. I am just reflecting a bit more. I have no additional information about this case, however, in Kosovo a Jordanian UN police officer shot two American UN police officers. In Jordan at a military base a Jordanian shot two American military guys (or was it ‘civilian contractors’?). In both these cases it was stated that the Americans repeatedly ‘taunted’ and ‘teased’ the Jordanians. The US investing officers in Florida better check out this aspect also. May be it is the US military personnel that needs intercultural training. If they invite ‘foreigners’ for training they should know how to behave.

    • As I said I do not have too much information on this incident, but the others I mentioned. Anyway, this particular student came to USA and the only thing he learned was to enjoy mass shooting. Sick, yes.

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