Six Saudi nationals have been arrested near the naval base in Pensacola, the USA after Saudi gunman opened fire on Friday, killing three people and injuring at least 11 others before being gunned down himself.
According to the reports, a Saudi Arabian Air Force trainee named Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani killed three and injured eleven others when he opened fire at a naval base in Florida. He referred to the United States as ‘a nation of evil’ before he went on his shooting rampage.
Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, opened fire inside a classroom at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola early Friday morning. The police quickly responded to the scene and shot dead the shooter. The suspect was a second lieutenant attending the aviation school at the base.
Reportedly, six other Saudi nationals have been arrested near the base shortly after the attack, as investigators began to probe a terror link. Three of the six were seen filming the entire incident as it unfolded. The suspects were taken into custody and are being questioned about the shooting.
Alshamrani was a student at the Navy training program aimed at “immersing international students in our US Navy training and culture” to help “build partnership capacity for both the present and for the years ahead,” said Commander Bill Gibson, who was the centre’s officer in charge in 2017.
The shooting came just two days after an active-duty sailor opened fire on civilian employees at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard near Honolulu, Hawaii.
According to Fox News, Saudis have been received training at the Pensacola Naval base since the 1970s, with as many as 20 students from the Middle Eastern country studying in each class.
However, many of these trainees belong to the Saudi Royal Family, putting pressure on officials to pass pilots through the training program in an attempt to preserve diplomacy with the US ally. Many US military pilots have complained for decades that some of the Saudi pilots are not safe flyers.
NAS Pensacola has more than 16,000 military and 7,400 civilian personnel, according to its website. The Naval Base in Florida is one of the US Navy’s most historic and storied bases. It sprawls along the waterfront southwest of downtown Pensacola and dominates the economy of the surrounding area.
“The government of Saudi Arabia needs to make things better for these victims,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said after the shooting. “They are going to owe a debt here given that this is one of their individuals,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has expressed “its deep distress” following the shooting and offered “its sincere condolences to the victims’ families, and wishes the injured a speedy recovery,” it said in a statement on Friday.
United States President Donald Trump has reportedly spoken to King Salman of Saudi Arabia after the shooting and spoke to him on the killings at the Naval base.