Gaetz calls Florida air base shooting ‘an act of terror’
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) called Friday’s deadly shooting at a naval air base in Pensacola, Fla., “an act of terror.”
“I’ve had some discussions with law enforcement on the ground, and my assessment after those discussions is that this is unequivocally an act of terror,” Gaetz, whose congressional district includes Pensacola, said Friday, according to The New York Times.
Both Gaetz and Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) have called for a review of how foreign military personnel are vetted before entering the U.S. for various types of training.
“I’m extremely concerned by the reports that this shooter was a foreign national training on a U.S. military base in Florida,” Scott said in a statement. “Today, I’m calling for a full review of the U.S. military programs to train foreign nationals on American soil.”
The shooter was identified as 2nd Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, an aviation officer in the Saudi Air Force who was training at the base, the Times reported. Officials say he opened fire in a classroom at Naval Air Station Pensacola, killing three people and wounding several others.
The gunman was killed by law enforcement responding to the scene on Friday.
According to the Times, six other Saudi nationals who were also training at the base were detained for questioning. Reportedly, three of them were seen recording the incident. A person familiar with the investigation told the newspaper there was no immediate indication those filming were connected to the shooter.
Additionally, an online group that monitors jihadist activity said that right before the shooting a Twitter account with a name matching Alshamrani’s tweeted that the U.S. was a “nation of evil” and criticized its support for Israel, according to the Times.
The newspaper noted that law enforcement officials did not confirm the authenticity of the account.
Authorities said they were investigating if the shooting was terror-related, according to multiple reports.
The FBI on Friday declined to say whether the shooting was being investigated as terror-related, with a spokesperson telling The Hill that the investigation was “still in the preliminary stages.”
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