The suspect -- Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, whom the FBI has officially identified as a second lieutenant in the Royal Saudi Air Force and a student naval flight officer – killed three people and injured several others on Friday at Naval Air Station Pensacola before he was killed by local law enforcement. He was receiving fighter pilot training at the base, Presstv Reported.
Hours before the deadly incident, Alshamrani reportedly posted criticism of US wars and quoted former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden on social media.
"I'm against evil and America as a whole has turned into a nation of evil. I hate you because every day you [are] supporting, funding and committing crimes not only against Muslims but also humanity," the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors media, quoted the gunman as saying.
The White House said in a statement that President Trump, who started defending the Saudi monarchy just hours after the shooting, said, “The Crown Prince reiterated Saudi Arabia’s commitment to working with the United States to prevent a horrific attack like the Pensacola shooting from ever happening again.”
“The President thanked the Crown Prince for Saudi Arabia’s assistance with the investigation and continued partnership.”
Following the deadly shooting, Trump’s Republican allies condemned the attack as an act of terrorism, and called for a halt to the training program that admitted the shooter and called on the Saudi government to cooperate in the investigation, according a Washington Post report.
But Trump used his appearances before television cameras and on social media to repeatedly offer cover for the Saudis.
“They are devastated in Saudi Arabia,” Trump told reporters Saturday. “And the king will be involved in taking care of families and loved ones. He feels very strongly. He’s very, very devastated by what happened and what took place. Likewise, the crown prince. They are devastated by what took place in Pensacola.”
Trump attempted to protect the Saudi government from scrutiny, but his position became steadily more isolated over the weekend as more information trickled out about the gunman and other Saudi nationals who were receiving training at the base.
The FBI on Sunday called the shooting terrorism and launched an investigation.