By Paulina Dedaj
Published December 07, 2019
The Saudi national who killed three people Friday morning after opening fire in a classroom at a naval air station in Florida reportedly hosted a dinner party earlier this week where he and several others watched videos of mass shootings, a U.S. official said Saturday.
Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, who was identified as a member of the Saudi military participating in a flight training program for foreign military personnel at Naval Air Station Pensacola, was killed by law enforcement after he fatally shot three people in what investigators are trying to determine was an attack motivated by terrorism.
While the FBI has declined to name the suspect or elaborate on a possible motive, a U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press that federal investigators told him Alshamrani hosted a dinner party earlier in the week where he and three others watch videos of mass shootings.
It wasn’t immediately clear if the shooter acted alone but the U.S. official said authorities also told him that one Saudi student - who was at the dinner party - stood outside the building recording while the shooting took place. Two others were said to have watched from a car.
10 Saudi students are being held at the base while several others remain unaccounted for, the official continued.
President Trump has remained in line with the FBI, declining to say if the attack was terror-related.
Florida U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, however, issued a scathing statement calling the shooting an act of terrorism “whether this individual was motivated by radical Islam or was simply mentally unstable."
Alshamrani reportedly posted a short manifesto to Twitter in which he condemned the U.S. as a “nation of evil.”
Meanwhile, it emerged a young graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, whose dream was to become a pilot, related crucial information about the identity of the Naval Air Station Pensacola shooter to first responders, despite having been shot several times, before succumbing to his injuries.
Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, was confirmed as one of the three victims who was killed Friday morning.
In an interview to air Sunday with Fox News' Chris Wallace, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said all 3 victims were Americans. Two were members of the U.S. Navy, a senior Pentagon official told Fox News.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.