FBI Working NAS Pensacola Shooting As Terrorism; Gun Was Purchased Legally

December 8, 2019

The FBI is working under the presumption that mass shooting at NAS Pensacola was an act of terrorism that involved a single gunman acting alone.

The shooter was 21-year old Mohammed Alshamrani, a second lieutenant in the Royal Saudi Air Force who was a student naval flight officer at the Naval Aviation Schools Command at NAS Pensacola.

During a press conference Sunday morning in Pensacola, FBI Special Agent in Charge Rachel Rojas said most the answers the public wants will not come quickly as the investigation continues, but they will strive to provide the most accurate and timely information available.

Rojas said Alshamrani used a Glock Model 45 9mm that was purchased legally. The FBI won’t say yet where the gun was purchased in Florida, but national media has reported it was bought locally under a law that allows for a non-citizen with a hunting license to buy a weapon.

She said the shooter was close with several other Saudi students at NAS pensacola, and they are cooperating with the investigation. So far, the FBI has not determined if Alshamrani acted alone or if others were involved.

Rojas said the Saudi government has pledged full cooperation with the FBI investigation, which would help identify and eliminate any threats to the Pensacola area. But she said that at the current time, there is no credible threat to the community.

Lawrence Keefe, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, said that he would be comfortable for any member of his family to be out in public.

“Our investigation has not led us to any information to indicate that there is any credible threat to our community, however, as always, we urge you to keep an eye out for each other especially for a tragedy like this one,” Rojas said. “If you see something, please say something. If you saw something, anything, please provide that information about the shooter that you think that might be relevant in this case. There is absolutely nothing too small.”

All international students at NAS Pensacola have been accounted for by the FBI and Navy. There have been no additional arrests.

Rojas would not comment on reports that other Saudi students videoed the shootings. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said during an interview on Fox News Sunday that it was unclear if they were filming before it began or if they picked up their phones after they saw it start.

“You know, today, people pull out their phones and film everything and anything that happens,” Esper told Fox News’ Chris Wallace.

“Investigators have recovered digital evidence as part of this investigation,” the FBI said in a statement Sunday afternoon. “This includes multiple videos from base security surveillance, as well as cell phone videos that were taken by a bystander from outside the building after the attack had started and after first responders had arrived.  We have interviewed that person, and are analyzing the videos to determine if any details can further this investigation.”

The investigation is continuing; the FBI said all interviews have not yet been completed.

Alshamrani was shot dead by deputies from the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office in a classroom building on the base. Three sailors died, and eight others were wounded.

Anyone with information relevant to this investigation is to call 1-800-CALL-FBI.


19 Responses to “FBI Working NAS Pensacola Shooting As Terrorism; Gun Was Purchased Legally”

  1. David Huie Green on December 11th, 2019 12:56 pm

    “I also believe that you should be a citizen to own or buy a gun.”

    So you believe every citizen should be required to carry proof of citizenship everywhere they go or not be allowed to exercise civil rights?

    David for rights used responsibly
    not denied because some don’t

  2. Rufus Lowgun on December 9th, 2019 8:31 pm

    If this Saudi pilot did this because he hated America, why would he go to the middle of a military base, where he would presumably know an armed response was seconds away, rather than to, say, a high school football game or Cordova mall? This sounds like workplace violence rather than some kind of religiously motivated act. He reportedly had problems with one of his civilian instructors who called him “porn ’stache” in class, in reference to his mustache. He filed a formal complaint about it, with two other students, I’ve read.

  3. BJohnson on December 9th, 2019 6:17 pm

    I believe in gun rights but, I also believe that you should be a citizen to own or buy a gun. This could be a simple fix….it’s a state law!

  4. Jerry on December 9th, 2019 11:08 am

    So, the federal law says foreign nationals cannot possess/purchase firearms, but a local/state law says they can if they purchase a hunting license? If that’s true, it looks like our local/state lawmakers need to make some changes to our laws. Seems like the foreign nationals know the loopholes in our laws better than we do.

  5. Steve Litton on December 9th, 2019 7:30 am

    If we welcome our allies here for training, fine. But why does that mean we must afford them the same rights and freedoms we give our own citizens?

    Come, live within the confines of your training command, complete your training and then return to your unit. I’m not saying you cannot travel freely while here, but many (most of whom are law-abiding) are living among us, renting homes in middle-class neighborhoods and we know nothing of their background.

    Doesn’t it seem clear we cannot count on outside agencies to fully vet candidates? The Terrorists only have to get their objective right ONCE. We must be vigilant ALWAYS.

  6. Henry Coe on December 8th, 2019 10:14 pm

    Some of the comments below are very opportunist toward trying to blame the Left and Liberals for this Saudi guy being able to buy a firearm. Really? LOL. That is so bizarre.
    Being that the loop hole this Saudi guy used had to do with a hunting law it would be my guess it is a Florida Hunting Law? However the Law came into being, there is a really good chance there was an NRA lobbyist behind its existence.
    Should that loophole exist? I don’t know? Should we treat allies training with our military like they are one of us? If not, why not?
    There is an interesting conversation to be had but I don’t think there is an argument that makes sense for having a completely unregulated 2nd Amendment and then trying to place blame when someone buys a firearm that isn’t regulated.

  7. Kevin on December 8th, 2019 7:15 pm

    I worked for the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin. In 1996, we we in Riyhad SA. Our dorm, Khobar Towers, was bombed. Many Nomads died, hundreds more were maimed. From what I understand, the royal Family was very insulated (we were there at their invitation). From what I heard, EVERYONE associated was found, questioned, and it was handled in a brutally appropriate fashion! I doubt if anyone associated in this attack are anxious to go back to SA, and face the King, and his secret service!

  8. DAVID HUIE GREEN on December 8th, 2019 7:03 pm

    “I have been a hunter all my life….and have never hunted with a 9mm, the gun shop should have known better.”

    Few pistols are purchased for hunting. The law establishes the legal status of the buyer, that he is not a convicted felon. Guns are not solely for hunting and are seldom bought legally for murder. This one was used that way. Don’t know when he bought it, may not have intended it for murder even then.

    He didn’t break the law until he DID break the law. This one was bad. Just the same, we probably shouldn’t lynch everyone who looks like him. Someone who looks like us may someday commit a crime. We wouldn’t like to be treated that way.

    David for better people

  9. James on December 8th, 2019 6:59 pm

    It’s a SAD day in the US when our Military service men and women are SAFER in their OWN homes were it’s there they have the means to PROTECT THEMSELVES!!!!

  10. Wayne on December 8th, 2019 6:53 pm

    It does not matter what anyone thinks about the gun purchase..when the FBI said it was purchased legally…end of discussion.
    Too many rumors and speculation and assumptions without reading the FBI statements ..and comprehending them as well.
    As far as buying a gun out of state…unless you are a convicted felon….its done every day…legally with a back ground check required by law…and you have to pass it.
    If not…you are on the list flagged…and then you might not want to discuss why on here.

  11. JD on December 8th, 2019 4:15 pm

    The government is so worried about a convicted felon working on a construction crew on a base that they are banned but we can bring foreign people from a country that was partly responsible for the 9/11 attacks and train them and let them buy a gun. Then this is the mess we end up with. The priorities of our government are severely wrong.

  12. paul on December 8th, 2019 4:09 pm

    Foreign nationals purchasing firearms – anyone else besides Judd and myself see something screwed up about this? You know the anti-gun politicians are quick to take away the rights of law abiding American citizens, but they don’t have the foresight to forbid gun sales to visitors from other countries?

    The stupidity of the anti-gunning lawmakers is palpable. Their stupidity aside, the scumbag terrorists hell bent on killing Americans would have been able to get a firearm by many other means. It would be a good start from now on to FORBID these foreign nationals from training here in the US, let their own countries train them .

    If they have the money to purchase military hardware – they can train their own . Americans are sick and tired of the enemies that have infiltrated our country. Get rid of the terrorists and the stupid, sickening, politicians that contribute to the downfall of this great nation. God bless the victims and their devastated grieving families.

  13. Unreal on December 8th, 2019 4:09 pm

    Well Judd, it’s because if the non-US citizen buyer has a hunting license, and they are on a non-immigrant visa, they can buy it.

    I bet the gun lobby will fight changing this.

  14. k on December 8th, 2019 4:09 pm

    @Paul: The Saudis have been flying jets over your head since 1988, when the training program for foreign students started. That’s right… Reagan allowed it.

    The simple fact is, here we have 1 student among the 10,000 or so Saudi students who hated us enough to do this.

    All the rest understood the simple truth – that attacking America would jeopardize the aid and training they received that they rely to keep Saudi safe from the much greater threat of Iran.

    in other words… they don’t like the U.S. … but they HATE Iran. And that’s why we train them.

  15. Christian on December 8th, 2019 3:57 pm


    Foreign nationals working the DOD are usually cleared to purchase firearms
    In Florida, foreign nationals holding a valid state hunting permit may purchase firearms.

    Laws vary state by state.

  16. Nathan on December 8th, 2019 3:41 pm

    I have been a hunter all my life….and have never hunted with a 9mm, the gun shop should have known better. Our laws are absolutely ridiculous to allow this. Why do we cater to these vermin. Send them all back

  17. Chuck Martin on December 8th, 2019 3:33 pm

    Why are these people being trained to fly planes, and fly them here in Pensacola? Have we’ve forgotten that 19 Saudi’s flew planes into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon and murdered 3,000 people? We must be stupid!

  18. paul on December 8th, 2019 2:44 pm

    Are these guys from other countries flying jets over my house or are they using simulators? Planting a jet in the right spot can do a lot more damage than a gun.

  19. Judd on December 8th, 2019 2:25 pm

    How is a handgun purchased locally “legally” by a foreign national when I can’t buy one from another state?

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