Official: Naval Air Station Pensacola shooting suspect was aviation student from Saudi Arabia

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PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) — A U.S. official has identified the shooter at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola as a Saudi Arabian aviation student. Authorities are investigating if the shooting was terrorism-related. The shooting was the second at a U.S. Navy base this week. Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan says 11 people were shot in Friday’s attack, four of whom died, including the shooter. Base commander Capt. Timothy Kinsella Jr. says the base will remain closed until further notice.

The shooter opened fire in a classroom building at the Naval Air Station; it prompted a massive law enforcement response and a lockdown at the base.

Of the 11 people shot,  two were sheriff’s deputies who were the first to respond, one of whom killed the shooter, Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said. One of the deputies was shot in the arm and the other in the knee, and both were expected to recover, he said.

The base remained closed until further notice and those still on base would remain there until it was safe to evacuate, said commanding officer Capt. Timothy Kinsella Jr.

NAS Pensacola employs more than 16,000 military and 7,400 civilian personnel, according to its website. One of the Navy’s most historic and storied bases, it sprawls along the waterfront southwest of downtown Pensacola and dominates the economy of the surrounding area.

It’s home to the Blue Angels flight demonstration team, and includes the National Naval Aviation Museum, a popular regional tourist attraction.

Escambia County Commissioner Jeff Bergosh, who works at the Naval Air Station as a civilian contractor, told the Pensacola News Journal he was in line to go through the gate Friday morning when it was shut down due to the active shooter report.

The shooting is the second at a U.S. naval base this week. A sailor whose submarine was docked at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, opened fire on three civilian employees Wednesday, killing two before taking his own life.

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