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Mohammed Alshamrani

Missing Saudi military trainees linked to deadly Florida naval shooting: Report

Investigators are scrutinizing multiple unaccounted for Saudi nationals who may be linked to the deadly shooting spree at a U.S. naval base in Florida, the Associated Press reports.

On Friday, 21-year-old Mohammed Alshamrani opened fire at Naval Air Station Pensacola and fatally shot three people before he also was shot to death.

Alshamrani was a 2nd Lt. in the Royal Saudi Air Force who was also a naval flight officer at the National Aviation Schools Command.

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The victims of the attack are 23-year-old Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson of Coffee, Ala.; 19-year-old Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham of St. Petersburg, Fla.; and 21-year-old Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters of Richmond Hill, Ga.

An anonymous official who has been briefed on the attack told the AP that as many as 10 Saudi students were being held at the base, and that there are several other Saudi nationals whose locations are not known.

U.S. Northern Command has since increased security at military sites in the wake of the attack, which followed a shooting at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii earlier in the week.

“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,” Lt. Cmdr. Michael Hatfield told Fox News on Saturday.

Investigators have not determined whether the shooting was terrorism, the AP reports. Defense Secretary Mark Esper also said at an event on Saturday that he could not say for certain whether the shooting was terrorism.

Less than a week before the shooting, Alshamrani had hosted a party in which attendees watched videos of mass shootings, according to the AP, which also reports that one of the party attendees reportedly recorded video outside a building where the shooting was occurring, while two other Saudi students observed from a vehicle.

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Florida, told Fox News on Sunday that the report of the party and mass shooting videos was “disgusting.”

“The fact that the FBI has not been able to, the reports say, the FBI has not been able to talk to every airman. I mean, I can’t imagine that,” Scott said on Fox News. “If the Saudi government is our ally our partner, they will make sure that there is full cooperation, not one airman needs to leave this country until the complete investigation.”

Investigators have also determined that Alshamrani and the three additional Saudi trainees visited New York City in the weeks prior to the shooting, according to The New York Times. The Saudis visited museums and Rockefeller Center.

Authorities are probing whether the trip was merely for pleasure or if the Saudis had other motives.

Social media posts are also being scrutinized. The SITE Intelligence Group says Alshamrani had posted sentiments similar to that of former Al Qaeda leader Usama Bin Laden. Twitter has since suspended his account.

President Trump has said he will review policies that govern how foreign troops train in the United States.

Naval Air Station Pensacola has been closed since the shooting and will remain so indefinitely, according to Capt. Tim Kinsella, the station’s commanding officer.

“The sailors that lost their lives in the line of duty and showed exceptional heroism and bravery in the face of evil,” Kinsella said in a statement. “When confronted, they didn’t run from danger; they ran towards it and saved lives.”

Anyone with information about Alshamrani or the shooting can call 1-800-CALL-FBI.

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[Feature Photo:  Mohammed Alshamrani/FBI]