The FBI has revealed that the deadly mass shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola will be treated as an act of terrorism and that no arrests have yet been made in the incident.
Special Agent in Charge Rachel Rojas revealed Sunday that investigators have not yet been able to determine shooter Mohammed Alshamrani’s motive for Friday’s ambush in Florida, which left three dead.
Alshamrani, 21, also died and eight others were wounded but all are expected to recover.
Investigators believe the Saudi gunman visited New York City, including Rockefeller Center, days before the shooting and are working to determine the purpose of the trip, a U.S. official said Sunday.
Authorities also believe the gunman made social media posts in which he talked about U.S. support for Israel and charged that Americans are anti-Muslim, said the official, who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
‘I can tell you that we are looking very hard at uncovering his motive and I would ask for patience so we can get this right,’ Rojas said in a press conference.
‘As we speak, members of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and Counterterrorism Division are working tirelessly to discern any possible ideology that may have been a factor in this attack.’
Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, 21, killed three and wounded 12 others in the attack before he was shot dead by police. This picture was released by the FBI on Saturday evening
Special Agent in Charge Rachel Rojas revealed Sunday that investigators have not yet been able to determine shooter Mohammed Alshamrani’s motive for Friday’s ambush in Florida
US Naval Academy graduate, Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, (left) and military student Mohammed Haitham, 19, (right) have been identified as two of the victims of Friday’s shooting
Naval apprentice Cameron Scott Walters, 21, was named as the third victim
ALSHAMRANI’S DISTURBING TWITTER ACCOUNT AND HIS PRE-SHOOTING ‘MANIFESTO’
The now-deactivated Twitter account purportedly belonging to Alshamrani 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….
The FBI and others are trying to establish whether the attack Friday was an act of terrorism and whether the gunman, 2nd Lt. Mohammed Alshamrani, 21, of the Royal Saudi Air Force, acted alone.
Alshamrani was a flight student at Pensacola, where members of foreign militaries are routinely trained by the U.S.
Using a Glock 9mm handgun he’d purchased by exploiting a legal loophole, Alshamrani opening fire in a classroom at the base on Friday morning, killing Airman Mohammed Sameh Hathaim, 19, Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters, 21.
Eight others, including two deputies, were wounded in a gunfight with Alshamrani, who was later shot dead by police.
Days before the shooting, Alshamrani hosted a dinner party for himself and three other Saudi trainees where they all watched videos of mass shootings together.
Investigators noted that one of the three students recorded video outside the classroom building while the shooting was taking place, while the other two Saudi students watched from a car.
FBI agents are also trying to determine the purpose of his New York visit are attempting to locate and question anyone who may have dealt with him.
In the hours leading up to the attack, the shooter appeared to have posted criticism of U.S. wars in the Middle East to social media, saying he hated Americans for ‘committing crimes not only against Muslims but also humanity’ and for the country’s support of Israel.
He also posted a quote from assassinated al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, according to SITE Intelligence Group. The shooter’s Twitter account was taken down subsequent to the attack.
The FBI Evidence Response Team is pictured continuing their methodical search for clues at the base on Saturday. FBI terrorism investigators have been also been investigating, according to reports
Naval Air Station Pensacola will remain closed until further notice, officials said Saturday. The building where the shooting took place is pictured
The U.S. has sought the assistance of Saudi officials as they try to piece together information about the gunman and his motive.
Ten Saudi students were being held on the base Saturday as part of the investigation, the official said, however no arrests have yet been made.
Alshamrani was a second lieutenant attending the aviation school at Navy Station Pensacola. The Pentagon say his training with the US military began in August 2016, and was due to finish in August 2020.
One of Alshamrani’s uncles told CNN on Saturday that he was shocked by the attack, as 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.
Meanwhile, it’s been revealed that Alshamrani used a handgun in the shooting, which he purchased from a dealer in Pensacola.
Non-citizens are prohibited from purchasing guns in the United States, unless they are equipped with a hunting license.
According to NBC, Alshamrani was equipped with such a license.
Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani was a Saudi aviator training at the U.S. naval station
The gun has been described as a Glock 45 9-millimeter handgun with an extended magazine.
Alshamrani allegedly had four to six other magazines in his possession at the time of his shooting.
Elsewhere, the FBI is examining social media posts and investigating whether Alshamrani acted alone or was connected to any broader group.
On Friday evening, the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist media, claimed they had tracked a Twitter account belonging to Alshamrani which featured a disturbing manifesto written just hours before the shooting.
Investigators are working to determine if it was in fact written by the shooter
President Donald Trump declined to say whether the shooting was terrorism-related but said Saturday that he would review policies governing foreign military training in the U.S.
The U.S. has long had a robust training program for Saudis, providing assistance in the U.S. and in the kingdom. More than 850 Saudis are in the United States for various training activities. They are among more than 5,000 foreign students from 153 countries in the U.S. going through military training.
‘This has been done for many decades,’ Trump said. ‘I guess we’re going to have to look into the whole procedure. We’ll start that immediately.’