The gunman who opened fire Friday morning at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida, fatally shooting three people, has been identified as an aviation student from Saudi Arabia as investigators are looking into whether the attack is terrorism-related.
The gunman was confronted and taken out by a pair of responding officers. Two people were killed at the scene while a third victim died after being rushed to a local hospital. Seven others suffered injuries and are undergoing treatment, including the two officers, one of whom was shot in the arm and the other in the knee. Both are expected to survive.
“This is a tragic day for the city of Pensacola… we are a military town, our hearts and prayers are connected to all those that serve us every single day,” the city’s mayor, Grover Robinson, told reporters during a press conference Friday. “We will overcome this, but today this is certainly a tragic day”
Further details about the incident were not immediately available and officials would not speak about the shooter’s identity or a potential motive. Another press conference is scheduled for later this afternoon.
“Both gates of NASP are currently secured due to reports of an active shooter,” the base posted earlier on its Facebook account.
Police say they first received a call about the shooting at 6:51 a.m.
At 7:48 a.m., police confirmed that the shooter was dead. The base will remain closed until further notice and the FBI, ATF and the U.S. Attorney General’s Office are said to be assisting in the investigation.
Jeff Bergosh, an Escambia County commissioner who works at NAS Pensacola as a civilian contractor, told the Pensacola News Journal that he saw ambulances and fire trucks racing toward the base while he waiting in line to enter at one of its gates.
“There’s probably been 100 or so various law enforcement vehicles zooming down the wrong side on Navy Boulevard,” he said, adding that he received a call from co-workers on base who reported being on lockdown.
The incident comes days after a sailor fatally shot two people and injured a third before turning a pistol on himself at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard.
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.