The suspect, killed by security at the scene of Thursday’s “terrorism-related” shooting at a U.S. naval air base in Texas has been identified as 20-year-old Adam Aalim Alsahli (below), a Syrian-born Muslim U.S. citizen, federal law enforcement officials said on Friday.
CNN In the Thursday morning attack, the gunman opened fire at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, wounding one sailor, a member of the base security force, but the assailant was the only person killed, the FBI said.
Alsahli drove to an entrance at the naval station and shot a security forces member in the chest, hitting the guard in her bulletproof vest and inflicting non-life-threatening injuries, according to one of the sources.
Alsahli then accelerated towards the gate entrance and crashed into a barrier. After exiting the vehicle, he began shooting, and was shot and killed by naval security forces. Following the suspect’s death, law enforcement bomb technicians cleared his body and vehicle, but found no explosive devices, one of the sources said.
A preliminary law enforcement investigation into the shooter has identified him as a US resident who was originally born in Syria, and likely a supporter of radical Salafi-jihadist ideology, according to one of the sources.
In a statement posted to Twitter the Houston office of the FBI said, “We are not ruling out any possible motives and continue to investigate all leads. When we are able to release additional information, we will do so.”
Officials have identified various social media accounts, which initial reports indicate are likely associated with the shooter, the source said. Online postings by these accounts expressed support for ISIS and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the source said.
Social Media accounts matching Alsahli’s profile on Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp featured support for hardline clerics, mostly from Saudi Arabia, and jihadi figures such as Ibrahim al-Rabaysh, who had been a spokesman for the Yemen branch of Al Qaeda and who was killed by a U.S. drone strike in 2015, according to Rita Katz, director of the SITE Intelligence Group.
Alsahli had been a student at Del Mar College, a community college in Corpus Christi, according to a statement on Friday from school spokeswoman Melinda Eddleman. He had been a business administration major and had attended classes in the fall 2018, spring 2019 and fall 2019 semesters.
FBI Supervisory Senior Resident Agent Leah Greeves said at a news conference Thursday that investigators were working to determine whether a second person of interest was at large.
The shooting also comes months after a Saudi Air Force officer who was training at a Navy base in Pensacola, Florida, killed three U.S. sailors and wounded eight other people in a shooting that American officials described as an act of terrorism. The country’s top federal law enforcement officials said this week that the gunman in December’s attack, Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, had been in touch with al-Qaida operatives about planning and tactics in the months before the shooting. Alshamrani was killed by a sheriff’s deputy.