Saudi soldier opens fire at US Naval Air Station

The sign announcing the entrance to Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, December 6.
The sign announcing the entrance to Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, December 6. Josh Brasted / AFP

Three days after a similar attack on Pearl Harbor, a man opened fire on Friday, December 6, at a Naval Air Station in Florida (southeastern United States). He had three dead and seven wounded, before being shot by the police. The shooting took place in one of Pensacola's courtrooms, said David Morgan, the sheriff of Escambia County, without specifying the gun or motive of the shooter.

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According to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, the gunman was a Saudi Air Force member from his country and present for training. "I think there are going to be a lot of answers to the fact that this individual (…) was training on our soil and doing that "said DeSantis at a press conference. The Saudi government "Is indebted for a debt here because it is one of their nationals", he added.

Cable News Network (CNN) assured that the investigators were trying to determine if this attack could be described as terrorist. Most of the perpetrators of the 11 September 2001 attacks in the United States were Saudi nationals.

"The indignant Saudi people"

The Pensacola Naval Air Station, where approximately 16,000 soldiers are stationed, is used by the US Navy for training programs for Allied military personnel. Hundreds of Saudi soldiers follow training in the US armed forces every year, illustrating the strong ties between Washington and Riyadh.

US President Donald Trump has been informed, the White House said. The leader then explained on Twitter that he had spoken by telephone with King Salman of Saudi Arabia.

"King Salman of Saudi Arabia has called me to offer his sincere condolences and sympathy to the families and friends of the fighters who were killed and injured in the attack in Pensacola, Florida. "

"The king said that the Saudi people were outraged by the barbarian act of the shooter, and that this person in no way represented the feelings of the Saudi people, who love the American people. "

Deadly madness

The shooting comes two days after an American shot dead two people and wounded a third in the shipyard at the Pearl Harbor military base in Hawaii before committing suicide. The gunman, a 22-year-old uniformed sailor, opened fire with his service weapon, an M4 rifle, before turning his handgun against him. His motives are, for the moment, not known.

Several US military bases have been bereaved in recent years by soldiers shot deadly. In September 2013, a former sailor, Aaron Alexis, killed twelve people in a navy compound in Washington before being shot by soldiers. And, in November 2009, a Palestinian-born military psychiatrist killed thirteen people and wounded thirty-two at the Fort Hood, Texas military base before being wounded and restrained.

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