The December shooting by 21-year-old Saudi military student Mohammed Alshamrani at Naval Air Station Pensacola that killed three people was an act of terrorism, US Attorney General William Barr has confirmed.
The shooting was an “act of terror” that was “motivated by jihadist ideology,” Barr told reporters on Monday at a press conference, adding that Alshamrani is believed to have acted alone.
Alshamrani visited the 9/11 memorial during the Thanksgiving holiday after posting a cryptic message on September 11 stating that the “countdown” had begun, Barr revealed.
Following an exhaustive investigation, the US will return 21 Saudi military students to their home country later on Monday. After the probe turned up “derogatory material” on the 21 cadets’ computers, in addition to “jihadi or anti-American content” on 17 of them and “some kind of contact with child pornography” on 15, the Saudi government “determined that this material demonstrated conduct unbecoming an officer in the Royal Saudi Air Force and in the Royal Navy.” However, none of the material would result in criminal prosecution on its own under US law, Barr clarified.
Barr praised the actions of two US Marines who attempted to stop Alshamrani, as well as a navy airman shot five times by the gunman who helped others escape the hail of bullets and the Saudi government, which gave “complete and total support” to the investigation.
Alshamrani, a second lieutenant in the Royal Saudi Air Force, killed three people and wounded eight at the naval base before he was himself killed in a shootout with Escambia County Sheriff’s deputies on December 6. Barr dispelled early reports that Alshamrani had arrived at the base with colleagues who filmed the violence.
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