FBI sees terror link in Navy base at­tack

A gun­man tries to speed through a gate at the Texas fa­cil­ity and is killed. One sailor is wounded.

Los Angeles Times - - OP-ED - As­so­ci­ated press

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A shoot­ing at a Texas naval air sta­tion that wounded a sailor and left the gun­man dead is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated as “ter­ror­ism-re­lated,” the FBI said Thurs­day.

The shoot­ing be­gan about 6:15 a.m. Thurs­day at Naval Air Sta­tion Corpus Christi.

The gun­man tried to speed through a gate at the base in a ve­hi­cle and opened fire on se­cu­rity work­ers, U.S. of­fi­cials said. A fe­male sailor who is a mem­ber of the se­cu­rity force at the base was struck but was able to roll over and hit a switch that raised a bar­rier, stop­ping the ve­hi­cle from get­ting onto the base.

The man got out of the ve­hi­cle and was killed in an ex­change of gun­fire with se­cu­rity per­son­nel, said the of­fi­cials, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity to dis­cuss de­tails about an on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Ini­tially there was con­cern that the shooter might have had ex­plo­sives, the of­fi­cials said. But Navy ex­plo­sives ex­perts did not find any.

The sailor was treated for a mi­nor in­jury at a hospi­tal and dis­charged, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment from the sta­tion com­mand.

The FBI is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the shoot­ing as “ter­ror­ism­re­lated,” FBI Spe­cial Agent Leah Greeves said at a news con­fer­ence Thurs­day, and in­ves­ti­ga­tors were work­ing to de­ter­mine whether a sec­ond per­son of in­ter­est was at large in the com­mu­nity.

“We have de­ter­mined that the in­ci­dent this morn­ing at the Naval Air Sta­tion

Corpus Christi is ter­ror­ism­re­lated,” Greeves said. “We are work­ing dili­gently with our state, lo­cal and fed­eral part­ners on this in­ves­ti­ga­tion, which is f luid and evolv­ing.”

Greeves did not elab­o­rate on a po­ten­tial mo­tive or spec­ify what led in­ves­ti­ga­tors to be­lieve the shoot­ing is re­lated to ter­ror­ism. Fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tors also did not pro­vide any in­for­ma­tion about the “po­ten­tial sec­ond re­lated per­son of in­ter­est at large in the com­mu­nity” or why they be­lieve that is the case.

Of­fi­cials were still work­ing to process the crime scene, Greeves said.

The FBI’s field of­fice in Hous­ton has taken the lead on the in­ves­ti­ga­tion and nei­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tors nor the Navy pro­vided de­tails on the shooter or a pos­si­ble mo­tive.

Atty. Gen. Wil­liam Barr was briefed on the shoot­ing, a Jus­tice De­part­ment spokeswoma­n said.

The fa­cil­ity was on lock­down for about five hours Thurs­day morn­ing, but that was lifted shortly be­fore noon. The sta­tion’s main gate was re­opened to traf­fic, but the gate where the at­tack hap­pened re­mained closed.

The sta­tion had a sim­i­lar lock­down in De­cem­ber. In an­other in­ci­dent at the base last year, a man pleaded guilty to de­struc­tion of U.S. govern­ment prop­erty and pos­ses­sion of a stolen firearm for ram­ming his truck into a bar­ri­cade at the Corpus Christi sta­tion.

The shoot­ing also comes months af­ter a Saudi air force of­fi­cer who was train­ing at a Navy base in Pen­sacola, Fla., killed three U.S. sailors and wounded eight other peo­ple in a shoot­ing that Amer­i­can of­fi­cials de­scribed as an act of ter­ror­ism. The coun­try’s top fed­eral law en­force­ment of­fi­cials said this week that the gun­man in De­cem­ber’s at­tack, Mo­hammed Saeed Al­sham­rani, had been in touch with Al Qaeda operatives.

An­nie Rice Corpus Christi Caller-Times

THE EN­TRANCE to Naval Air Sta­tion Corpus Christi was closed fol­low­ing the at­tack Thurs­day.

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