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NAS Pensacola shooter railed against the US and quoted Osama bin Laden online hours before the attack

PENSACOLA, Fla. (Reuters) – The Saudi airman accused of killing three people at a U.S. Navy base in Florida appeared to have posted criticism of U.S. wars and quoted slain al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden on social media hours before the shooting spree, according to a group that monitors online extremism.

Federal investigators have not disclosed any motive behind the attack, which unfolded at dawn on Friday when the Saudi national is said to have began firing a handgun inside a classroom at the Naval Air Station Pensacola.


A vigil was held on Saturday for those wounded and killed, among them a recent Naval Academy graduate who dreamed of being a fighter pilot, according to the victim’s family.

A sheriff’s deputy fatally shot the gunman, authorities said, ending the second deadly attack at a U.S. military base within a week. Within hours, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman had called U.S. President Donald Trump to extend his condolences and pledge his kingdom’s support in the investigation.

Authorities confirmed the suspect was a member of the Royal Saudi Air Force who was on the base as part of a U.S. Navy training program designed to foster links with foreign allies. They declined to disclose his name or identify his victims.

Two U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, named the shooter as Second Lieutenant Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani.

At least three of the eight people wounded were law enforcement shot as they responded to the attack, officials said, including one Navy police officer and two county sheriff’s deputies. They were expected to recover.

One of the dead was identified by relatives as Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23. A recent graduate of the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, he had arrived at Pensacola two …read more

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