PENSACOLA, FL- Military bases across America have been put on high alert, and there are now concerns that missing Saudi nationals could pose a terror threat to New York City or other parts of America.
This, after Friday’s mass shooting at the Pensacola Navy Station.
An advisory was sent out Saturday night by US Northern Command, also known as NORTHCOM.
It called for an increase in security checks, and comes as the FBI continues to hunt for several Saudi military students from Pensacola.
They seem to have vanished in the wake of Friday’s attack.
Saudi Mohammed Saeed al-Shamrani, 21, killed three and wounded 12 others at the base before he was shot dead by police on Friday.
Now investigators say they’re holding 10 Saudi military students from the base, but have launched a nationwide manhunt for several who are missing.
On Saturday night, sources told LET that al-Shamrani and three fellow Saudi students traveled from Pensacola to New York last week.
That’s where they’re said to have visited several museums and are thought to have watched the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
That tree lighting, which was attended by thousands of people, happened Wednesday – just 36 hours before the shootings.
Investigators are still trying to figure out why they went to the city and who they met with while they were there.
It gets worse. We’re told three Saudi serviceman joined al-Shamrani for a dinner party on Thursday night. The purpose was to watch videos of mass shootings.
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And we learned Saturday night that one Saudi student allegedly videotaped al-Shamrani’s attack, while two others watched from a nearby car.
Our sources tell us they believe those three Saudis are among the 10 who have been detained.
Friday’s shooting has not yet been deemed a “terror attack” by the FBI – at least not formally.
The alert by NORTHCOM comes after not just the Pensacola attack, but a separate, seemingly unrelated attack at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on Wednesday.
That’s where a sailor whose submarine was docked at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, opened fire on three civilian employees Wednesday. He killed two before taking his own life.
‘Given the recent attacks at two military installations, the Commander, US Northern Command has directed all DoD [Defense Department] installations, facilities and units within the US Northern Command area of responsibility to immediately assess force protection measures and implement increased random security measures appropriate for their facilities,’ Lieutenant Commander Michael Hatfield told media outlets.
He said to stay sharp.
‘The advisory also told leaders to remind their workforce to remain alert and if they see something, to say something by immediately reporting to appropriate authorities any suspicious activity they may observe,’ Hatfield said.
We’re also learning more about gunman Al-Shamrani. 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….
On Saturday, one of his uncles told CNN on Saturday 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.
We’re also learning more about how he committed the murders. Police say al-Shamrani 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 al-Shamrani 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.
Sources tell LET that al-Sharami allegedly had four to six other magazines with him at the time of his shooting.
Now the FBI is looking into social media posts and investigating whether al-Shamrani acted alone or was connected to any broader group.
On Saturday night, the victims were formally named.
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 on Saturday morning, 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.
The family of Haitham also confirmed on Saturday night 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.
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.
On Saturday, President Donald Trump spoke to reporters about the attack:
“We’re finding out what took place, whether it’s one person or a number of people. We’ll get to the bottom of it very quickly.”
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 on Friday.
It’s worth pointing out that weapons are not allowed on the base Naval Air Station Pensacola, which will remain closed until further notice.