Royal Saudi Air Force Officer Reportedly Behind NAS Pensacola Shooting

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated as of 3:58 p.m. EST. on Dec. 6.

The person who shot and killed three people and injured a number of others at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., on Dec. 6 was a Saudi national who was attending flight training at the base, according to a statement from House Homeland Security Committee Ranking Member Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.). It was the second shooting at a US Navy installation in three days.

US officials reportedly told the Associated Press the perpetrator was a second lieutenant in the Royal Saudi Air Force who was studying at the base’s aviation school.

President Donald Trump tweeted that the Saudi king called to express his condolences following the attack.

The shooter and three additional people died, according to a US Navy release. The names of the victims have not been released pending next of kin notification.

In a statement released Friday, Rogers stopped short of calling the attack an act of terrorism.

“The heroism of the sailors, civilians, law enforcement, and first responders saved lives today. While the FBI is conducting a full investigation into the shooter’s motives, it certainly bares the hallmark signs of a terror attack,” he wrote. “I urge Saudi Arabia to cooperate completely with the investigation. It is vital that we fully understand the specifics of how the attacker was approved to enter the United States and attend flight training.”

Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly issued a statement condemning the attacks, calling the NAS Pensacola and Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard shootings—along with the death of a sailor whose car was hit Nov. 30 while he was responding to a security breach at Joint Expeditionary Base Fort Story, Va.— as “crimes against all of us.”

“Our prayers are with the families of the fallen and with the wounded,” he said. “It is our solemn duty to find the causes of such tragic loss and ceaselessly work together to prevent them. Let us make concerted efforts to care for the families of those lost, and those wounded, visibly and not.  Let us shepherd them through these first moments of despair, and make them, and our greater Naval family, whole and strong.”

The installation was still locked down as of 11 a.m. EST, with first responders working to secure the scene. 

A base spokesperson referred all questions to the FBI.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) tweeted that “all key federal agencies” are assisting with the investigation.

“Early on they will be guarded in what they share with the public not in an effort to keep conceal information but to avoid providing potentially inaccurate or incomplete information,” he noted.

Individuals “familiar with the investigation” told the Pensacola News Journal “there has been no immediate determination on whether the shooting was terror related.”

Two civilian shipyard employees and the shooter were killed in a similar attack on Dec. 4, the Navy said in a release.

The shooter in that incident, who “has been tentatively identified as a US Sailor, reportedly shot and injured three Department of Defense civilian workers before shooting himself,” according to a JBPHH release shared to Facebook.

JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam also was temporarily put on lockdown in response.

An Air Force spokesperson said the shootings have not yet impacted international pilot training at USAF installations, such as Luke AFB, Ariz.