Pensacola Shooting Puts U.S.-Saudi Relations in Spotlight; Trump Speaks with King Salman and Crown Prince

A Saudi soldier in training in the United States opened fire on a naval base in Pensacola, Florida on Friday, killing three and wounding 12.

Second Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani was then killed by a sheriff’s deputy who responded to the attack. The attack shocked Saudis and Americans alike. 

The authorities are still investigating a motive, according to reports.

King Salman of Saudi Arabia called President Trump to offer his condolences and to condemn the actions of the gunman, who he said did not represent the Saudi people, according to Mr. Trump. “The King said that the Saudi people are greatly angered by the barbaric actions of the shooter,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

President Trump also spoke with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman by phone.

Six other Saudi nationals were detained for questioning near the scene of the shooting, which took place over two floors in a classroom on the base. Three of the Saudis who were detained had been seen filming the entire incident, a person briefed on the investigation told the New York Times.

The three servicemen killed by Alshamrani, according to the Navy Times:

•Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, Student, Naval Aviation Schools Command, 23, from Coffee County, Alabama;

•Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, Student, Naval Aviation Schools Command, 19, from St. Petersburg, Florida; and

•Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters, Student, Naval Aviation Schools Command, 21, from Richmond Hill, Georgia.

“The sorrow from the tragic event on NAS Pensacola will have a lasting impact on our installation and community,” said Capt. Tim Kinsella, commanding officer of NAS Pensacola in a prepared statement emailed to Navy Times. “We feel the loss profoundly and grieve with the family and friends of the deceased. The sailors that lost their lives in the line of duty and showed exceptional heroism and bravery in the face of evil.”