The Saudi Muslim Air Force trainee who killed three and injured eight when he opened fire at a Florida naval base in Florida condemned the U.S. as “a nation of evil” just before his shooting rampage. The Muslim terrorist, identified as Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, opened fire inside a classroom at Naval Air Station in Pensacola early Friday morning, and was shot dead by police. Six other Saudi Muslim nationals, three of whom were allegedly filming the attack were also arrested near the base.
Daily Mail Alshamrani was a second lieutenant attending the aviation school at the base. The Pentagon say his training with the US military began in August 2016, and was due to finish in August 2020.
On Friday evening, the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist media, claimed they had tracked a Twitter account belonging to Alshamrani which featured a disturbing tweet written just hours before the shooting.
‘I’m against evil, and America as a whole has turned into a nation of evil,’ the tweet read. ‘I’m not against you for just being American, I don’t hate you because your freedoms, I hate you because every day you supporting, funding and committing crimes not only against Muslims but also humanity,’ Alshamrani wrote.
ABC News reported that investigators were working to determine if if the tweet was in fact written by the shooter. The Twitter account that posted the manifesto – which also condemned US support for Israel and included a quote from Al-Qaeda’s deceased leader, the Saudi Osama bin Laden – has now been suspended.
Meanwhile six other Saudi nationals were arrested near the base shortly after the attack, as investigators began to probe a terror link. Three of the six were seen filming the entire incident as it unfolded, a source told The New York Times on Friday evening.
No officials have yet stated whether any of them were students inside the classroom where the shooting occurred. Military from around the globe attend the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, which is the home of the Navy’s revered Blue Angels aerial demonstration team.
The shooter opened fire in a classroom building shortly before 7am Friday. The attack left four people dead, including the assailant, and eight others wounded.
Of the 19 men involved in the September 11 attacks, 15 were Saudi and some of them attended flight school in Florida.
In recent weeks, 18 naval aviators and two aircrew members from the Royal Saudi Naval Forces were training with the US Navy, including at Pensacola, according to a November 15 press release from the Navy. It was not clear if the suspected shooter was part of that delegation.
The delegation came under a Navy program that offers training to US allies, known as the Naval Education and Training Security Assistance Field Activity.
A person familiar with the program said that “Saudi Air Force officers selected for military training in the United States are intensely vetted by both countries.”