Questions linger as investigation continues into Dec. 6 shooting at Pensacola Naval Air Station


A shooting carried out by Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani (inset) at the Pensacola Naval Air Station is still under investigation.

On Friday Dec. 6, there was a shooting at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida that the FBI is presuming “was an act of terrorism,” according to the special agent leading the investigation.. The shooting that left three people dead and eight others injured occurred in a classroom building at the air station. The gunman was killed at the scene.

Mohammed Alshamrani, a 21-year-old second lieutenant in the Royal Saudi Air Force and a student naval flight officer, opened fire in the  classroom building, the FBI said. Alshamrani was killed after two deputies exchanged gunfire with him. Alshamrani’s motive for the attack is still undetermined. Investigators want more information on Alshamrani’s time back in Saudi Arabia, according to a law enforcement official. 

Yet little is known of Lieutenant Alshamrani’s life in Florida during his months as a trainee. He was apparently infuriated when one of his instructors at the base gave him the nickname “Porn Stash.”  The incident in April appears to have been upsetting enough that two American students in the class helped him file his complaint. Perhaps this began Mohammed’s downfall with the American school system hee was attending.

Alshamrani took advantage of a gun ownership “loophole” for foreign nationals that must be closed, Gov. Ron DeSantis said. At a news conference late Sunday, DeSantis said he had believed that only foreign law enforcement officers could legally possess or purchase firearms in the USA. The FBI, however, said Alshamrani legally purchased the 9mm handgun he used at the base that is home to more than 23,000 military and civilian personnel, including the celebrated Blue Angels aerobatic flight team. 

On Dec. 10, authorities began investigating a cyber attack on the city of Pensacola, home to the naval air station where the terrorist attack happened. “I can confirm that the city of Pensacola has experienced a cyber attack and we’ve disconnected much of our city’s network until the issue can be resolved,” said the city’s spokeswoman, Kaycee Lagarde. “As a precaution we have reported the incident to the federal government.” 

A spokesman for the FBI in Pensacola would not confirm if the agency has a role in the investigation into whether the cyber attack is related to the shooting. Much of the city’s computer systems remained offline for several days; however, city officials stressed that all emergency services were running, including 911 services. 

Meanwhile, local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies are continuing the investigation into the shooting and the cyber attack.