The Saudi Arabian Air Force trainee who killed three United States Navy sailors at a Pensacola, Florida, Naval Air Base on December 6 posted a social media message that may have been a warning of the attack nearly four months before the deadly mass shooting, according to a Joint Intelligence Bulletin released on Friday and first revealed by ABC News.
On Sunday, the FBI confirmed that the attack is now being investigated as an act of terrorism, according to a CBS News report. The investigators believe that the shooter, who was slain by Escambia County sheriff’s deputies at the scene, was inspired by radical Islamic ideology.
The FBI is also investigating whether Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani acted alone in the mass shooting, or if he was part of a larger terrorist conspiracy. The day after the shooting, investigators detained three other Saudi nationals who were reportedly filming the attack as it took place. What then happened to those three Saudis remains unclear, but no arrests have been made in connection with the shooting.
On September 11, in a social media post, Alshamrani wrote the ominous message, “the countdown has started.” But the message provided no further explanation as to what was meant by that statement.
On his social media accounts, Alshamrani condemned non-Muslims as “infidels” and wrote approvingly of “jihad,” according to the Joint Intelligence Bulletin cited by ABC News.
The NAS Pensacola shooter is identified as Saudi national Mohammed Alshamrani. Anyone with information regarding his activites is encouraged to call 1-800-CALL-FBI. FBI Jacksonville is not aware of any credible threat toward the Pensacola community at this time. pic.twitter.com/RNc8ZL89WS
— FBI Jacksonville (@FBIJacksonville) December 8, 2019
The alleged shooter hosted a dinner party just days before the attack at which he and his guests viewed videos of previous mass shooting incidents, a federal official revealed on Saturday, according to the CBS News report.
“Our unified goal remains clear: to determine if the shooter acted alone or if anyone assisted, provided support for, or had knowledge of his attack in advance,” the FBI said in a statement, as quoted in the ABC News report.
But the FBI also said that investigators did not believe that there was any ongoing threat to the public related to the December 6 attack.
The Joint Intelligence Bulletin also included newly revealed details of the December 6 attack. According to to the bulletin as described in the ABC News report, Alshamrani was able to fire his weapon for about 15 minutes, unleashing 180 rounds of ammunition from a Glock 9mm handgun that he had purchased legally under a federal gun law loophole that allows foreign nationals to purchase firearms for “hunting.”
Donald Trump’s response to the incident differed sharply from the tone of his reactions to previous incidents of alleged Islamic-inspired terrorism, according to a Washington Post report.
“These animals are crazy and must be dealt with through toughness and strength!” Trump declared, following an August 2018, attack in London, England.
But after the Pensacola attack, Trump appeared to act as “press secretary” for the Saudi government, according to Post columnist Max Boot. Claiming that he had spoken on the phone to Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Trump said that the monarch conveyed “sincere condolences” to the victims’ families. He also claimed that the Saudi royal family would somehow “take care of the families and loved ones of the victims.”