“This was not a murder,” he told Pensacola's WEAR-TV, referring to the deaths of three people at the U.S. military facility.
Gaetz said the FBI's involvement in the investigation into the shooting indicated the case was being treated as terrorism, although officials have said they're still trying to determine if the shooting fits the definition.
“If this were a murder it would typically be investigated by NCIS,” Gaetz told WEAR, referring to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which typically handles crimes at Navy properties. "And as we speak the investigation is being handed over from NCIS to the FBI. That is the signal that this will now be treated by our government as an act of terrorism, not a murder."
A Saudi aviation student training at the Navy base shot and killed three people before he was fatally shot by police Friday morning, authorities have said.
Gaetz said on social media that the training program has run successfully for years but added the shooting “represents a serious failure in the [program's] vetting process."
“I’m going to be very active in working with the Department of Defense and the Department of State to make sure we have extreme vetting for the people that come into our country to train on our bases and in our communities," he said.
Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., wrote on Twitter that he is calling for a "full review" of the Navy training programs and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., posted that the shooting "exposed some serious flaw" in the vetting process.