Of­fi­cial: Base as­sailant watched shoot­ing tape

Re­port: One per­son at party filmed shoot­ing while out­side build­ing

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - NATION+WORLD - By Bren­dan Farrington

PENSACOLA, FLA. >> The Saudi stu­dent who fa­tally shot three peo­ple at a U.S. naval base in Florida hosted a din­ner party ear­lier in the week where he and three oth­ers watched videos of mass shoot­ings, a U.S. of­fi­cial told The As­so­ci­ated Press on Satur­day.

Of­fi­cials in­ves­ti­gat­ing the deadly at­tack were work­ing Satur­day to de­ter­mine whether it was mo­ti­vated by ter­ror­ism, as both Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and De­fense Sec­re­tary Mark Esper in­di­cated that they would re­view poli­cies gov­ern­ing for­eign mil­i­tary train­ing in the United States.

Family mem­bers on Satur­day iden­ti­fied one of the vic­tims as a 23-year-old re­cent grad­u­ate of the U.S. Naval Academy who alerted first re­spon­ders to where the shooter was even af­ter he had been shot sev­eral times.

“Joshua Kaleb Wat­son saved count­less lives to­day with his own,” Adam Wat­son wrote on Face­book. “He died a hero and we are be­yond proud but there is a hole in our hearts that can never be filled.”

The shooter opened fire in­side a class­room at Naval Air Sta­tion Pensacola on Fri­day, killing three peo­ple and wound­ing two sher­iff’s deputies, one in the arm and one in the knee, be­fore one of the deputies killed him. Eight oth­ers were also hurt. Both deputies are ex­pected to sur­vive.

The of­fi­cial who spoke Satur­day said one of the three stu­dents who at­tended the din­ner party hosted by the at­tacker recorded video from out­side the class­room build­ing while the shoot­ing was tak­ing place. The of­fi­cial spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymity af­ter be­ing briefed by fed­eral au­thor­i­ties. Two other Saudi stu­dents watched from a car, the of­fi­cial said.

The of­fi­cial said 10 Saudi stu­dents were be­ing held on the base Satur­day and sev­eral oth­ers were un­ac­counted for.

A U.S. of­fi­cial who spoke to The As­so­ci­ated Press on the con­di­tion of anonymity on Fri­day iden­ti­fied the shooter as Mo­hammed Saeed Al­sham­rani. The of­fi­cial wasn’t au­tho­rized to dis­cuss the mat­ter pub­licly. The of­fi­cial also said the FBI was ex­am­in­ing so­cial me­dia posts and in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether he acted alone or was con­nected to any broader group.

Two U.S. of­fi­cials iden­ti­fied the stu­dent as a 2nd lieu­tenant in the Saudi Air Force and said Fri­day that au­thor­i­ties were in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether the at­tack was ter­ror­ism-re­lated. They spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymity to dis­close in­for­ma­tion that had not yet been made pub­lic.

Trump de­clined to say whether the shoot­ing was ter­ror­ism-re­lated. Trump tweeted his con­do­lences to the fam­i­lies of the vic­tims Fri­day and noted that Saudi King Sal­man had re­as­sured him in a tele­phone call that the shooter “in no way, shape or form rep­re­sents the feel­ings of the Saudi peo­ple.”

But in com­ments echo­ing those made ear­lier by De­fense Sec­re­tary Mark Esper, Trump said Satur­day that he would re­view poli­cies gov­ern­ing for­eign mil­i­tary train­ing in the U.S.

The U.S. long has had a ro­bust train­ing pro­gram for Saudis, pro­vid­ing as­sis­tance in the U.S. and in the king­dom. A cou­ple hun­dred stu­dents from coun­tries out­side the U.S. are en­rolled in train­ing at the Pensacola base, said Base com­man­der Capt. Tim Kin­sella.

“This has been done for many decades,” Trump said. “I guess we’re go­ing to have to look into the whole pro­ce­dure. We’ll start that im­me­di­ately.”

BREN­DAN FARRINGTON — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

A ve­hi­cle Satur­day drives by a trib­ute to shoot­ing vic­tims at the Naval Air Sta­tion Pensacola that was freshly painted on what’s known as Graf­fiti Bridge in down­town Pensacola, Fla. Three peo­ple were killed in the deadly ram­page.

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