Florida – Attorney General William Barr declared Monday that December’s shooting at the naval base in Pensacola, Florida was an “act of terrorism” and was motivated by a “jihadist ideology.”

According to a report from USA Today, the Justice Department just released their official findings on the case about a month after the incident transpired. 

Second Lt. Mohammed Alshamrani was the gunman identified in the attacks. 

Attorney General: Saudi attack on Florida naval base was an "act of terrorism"

 

According to that report, investigators found that after September 11th of last year, the shooter posted to his social media accounts that “the countdown has begun.”

Officials say in the days after Thanksgiving, the suspect reportedly visited the 9/11 memorial in downtown Manhattan and posted a number of “anti-American, anti-Israeli and jihadi messages” online hours before the attack took place.

During Alshamrani’s rampage, he killed three American service members and injured another eight. Police arrived at the scene and shot and killed the gunman before he could inflict any further damage.

Following the attack, Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist ordered Defense intelligence officials to review and strengthen vetting procedures and in turn, grounded hundreds of Saudi nationals who were training in flight school at the naval base.

Contrary to prior reports, it’s said that Alshamrani arrived at the naval air station in Pensacola on December 6 and opened fire. During the investigation, officials looked into whether additional Saudi national students participated in the plot, but the claims were later dismissed.

He was a second lieutenant attending the aviation school at Navy Station Pensacola. 

According to the Pentagon, his training with the US military began in August 2016, and was due to finish in August 2020.  

His now-deactivated Twitter account purportedly included:

– A variety of anti-Israel postings and a quote from deceased al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden

– A lengthy manifesto posted at 4:39am  Friday, less than two hours the shooting. The manifesto read in part:

‘I’m against evil, and America as a whole has turned into a nation of evil.

‘I’m not against you for just being American, I don’t hate you because [of] your freedoms, I hate you because every day you [are] supporting, funding and committing crimes not only against Muslims, but also humanity….

After the shooting, one of his uncles told CNN that he was shocked by the attack.  He claimed his nephew was ‘likable and mannered towards his family and the community’.  

“He had his religion, his prayer, his honesty and commitments,” the uncle stated.  

Police say Alshamrani used a handgun in the shooting, which he purchased from a dealer in Pensacola. 

Here’s the deal.

Non-citizens are prohibited from purchasing guns in the United States, with an exception – if they are equipped with a hunting license, which apparently he had.

The gun he used was a Glock 45 9-millimeter handgun with an extended magazine – which, of course, wasn’t allowed in the gun-free zone base.

Did you know that Law Enforcement Today has a private new home for those who support emergency responders and veterans? It’s called LET Unity, and it’s where we share the untold stories of those patriotic Americans. Every penny gets reinvested into giving these heroes a voice. Check it out today.

Virginia senator attacks 2A supporters, suggesting they are all mentally ill

 

Sources tell LET that al-Sharami allegedly had four to six other magazines with him at the time of his shooting. 

The FBI began looking into social media posts and investigating whether Alshamrani acted alone or was connected to any broader group. 

The victims were formally named a few days after the incident.

They were US Naval Academy graduate Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, military student Mohammed Haitham, 19, and naval apprentice Cameron Scott Walters, 21.

Watson’s family announced his death the following Saturday, with his brother posting a heartbreaking tribute on Facebook saying he ‘saved countless lives today with his own.’ 

“After being shot multiple times he made it outside and told the first response team where the shooter was and those details were invaluable. He died a hero,” wrote brother Adam Watson.  

Watson was from Enterprise, Alabama and was actively involved in JROTC and National Honor Society in high school. 

Joshua Kaleb Watson

Joshua Kaleb Watson

 

The family of Haitham also confirmed that he was among the three killed.

Haitham was known as ‘Mo’ to those who knew him.  He was a track and field star from Lakewood, Florida, who graduated from high school in 2018 and joined the Navy soon afterward.

Attorney General: Saudi attack on Florida naval base was an "act of terrorism"

 

He had completed boot camp and was assigned to flight crew training in Florida.

Evelyn Brady is his mother.  She’s also a Navy veteran and now works for the Veterans’ Administration.  She talked about hearing about her son’s death.

“The commander of his school did call me,” she said.  “He told me my son did try to stop the shooter.”

The third victim, naval apprentice Walters, 21, was from Richmond Hill, Georgia.

Friends on social media described him as a ‘kind-hearted’ and ‘wonderful’ person.

Cameron Scott Walters

 

Trump tweeted his condolences to the families of the victims shortly after the news broke, and noted that he had received a phone call from Saudi King Salman.

“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,” Trump wrote. 

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis spoke to the media and said Saudi Arabia should offer compensation to the victims, something President Trump agreed with.

“The government of Saudi Arabia needs to make things better for these victims, and I think they’re going to owe a debt here given that this is one of their individuals,” DeSantis said in an interview. 

It’s worth pointing out that weapons are not allowed on the base Naval Air Station Pensacola.

 


Want to make sure you never miss a story from Law Enforcement Today? With so much “stuff” happening in the world on social media, it’s easy for things to get lost.

Make sure you click “following” and then click “see first” so you don’t miss a thing! (See image below.) Thanks for being a part of the LET family!

Facebook Follow First