Reports of an active shooter on the base came in Friday morning.
The gunman in a shooting that killed four people and injured several others at Naval Air Station Pensacola on Friday morning was a Saudi national, according to two people familiar with the investigation.
The FBI has taken the lead in the continuing investigation, though there has been no immediate determination on whether the shooting was terror related, the sources told USA TODAY.
Authorities said the suspect was among the four people killed. Seven others, including two deputies, were injured and taken to the hospital.
The shooting happened just two days after a U.S. Navy sailor shot three people and killed himself at Pearl Harbor.
Here’s what we know.
How many people were injured at NAS Pensacola?
Four people, including the shooter, were confirmed dead, authorities said in a press conference Friday morning. Seven were injured.
Eight patients were accepted to nearby Baptist Hospital. One died there. Three people died on the base.
The names of the victims will not be released until the next of kin have been notified, the U.S. Navy said in a statement.
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The shooting began around 6:30 a.m. central time Friday and was reported around 7 a.m., authorities said.
Who is the shooting suspect?
While authorities have not publicly identified the suspect and could not say if they were a member of the military, two people familiar with the investigation say that the gunman was a Saudi national.
The Associated Press, citing an unnamed U.S. official, reports the suspect was an aviation student from Saudi Arabia.
The suspect died just before 8 a.m. central time, Escambia County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Amber Southard said.What is NAS Pensacola?
The air station is the primary training base for all U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard officers pursuing designation as Naval Aviators and Naval Flight Officers.
NAS Pensacola is located in Escambia County in Florida’s western Panhandle and employs more than 16,000 military and 7,400 civilian personnel.
It’s also the home of the Blue Angels and the National Naval Aviation Museum.Why was a Saudi national at NAS Pensacola?
Training international students at NAS Pensacola is a core part of the base’s mission.
International students can complete all or part of the typical 18-month syllabus on base and must go through several federal vetting processes before training at NAS Pensacola.
“The way that program works is that the foreign government has to certify that these are the best of their best, that these are their future generals and admirals and senior military officials for their countries,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz. “The U.S. State Department does a scrub on those prospective trainees, and after that they matriculate into the program.
“That’s a really important part of what our military does, because it has people use our systems and train alongside our military members,” he added. “They are more receptive and more capable and more willing to work with us when the time arises, should U.S. interests be impacted.”Where on the base was the shooting?
The shooting happened on two floors of a classroom building near Radford Road on base. Both gates were closed and the base was locked down.
Navy officials and law enforcement are investigating the report and ask members of the public to stay away from the base.
The Navy base will be closed all day Friday.Who else was affected?
St. John’s Catholic School, located outside the front of the base, has been closed due to the lockdown.
Corry Station, a naval training installation a few miles northwest of NAS Pensacola, has been placed on lockdown as a precaution. Personnel are sheltering in place until the lockdown is lifted.How are lawmakers reacting?
“This is a tragic day for the city of Pensacola,” said Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson. “We’re a military town. Our hearts and prayers are connected to those that serve us every day. And certainly the expectation that this would happen to us here, at home, was unexpected.”
Various lawmakers reacted to the shooting on Twitter.
Vice President Mike Pence wrote that he was “praying for the victims & their families.”
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz said in a video that he was “deeply saddened” by the shooting.
“NAS Pensacola is a huge source of pride for all of northwest Florida. It is the home of naval aviation. It is the home of the Blue Angels,” Gaetz said. “In our home, this is who we are. This is what we love.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wrote that he was deploying Florida’s Disaster Recovery Mental Health Coordinator to coordinate mental health resources for families impacted by the shooting.
Source : USA Today