FBI links al Qaeda to Saudi shooter in deadly attack on Florida air base

FAN Editor

Washington — The FBI and Department of Justice plan to announce they have found evidence linking al Qaeda to the Saudi gunman who killed three U.S. service members in an attack at a Navy air station in Florida last December, officials tell CBS News.

The gunman was identified as 21-year-old Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, a Saudi national who was training at Naval Air Station Pensacola. He opened fire inside a classroom on December 6, 2019, killing three and wounding two sheriff’s deputies before being shot and killed.

Attorney General William Barr and FBI Director Christopher Wray are scheduled to hold a virtual press conference at 11 a.m. Monday to discuss developments in the investigation. 

Barr said in January that the shooting was an act of terrorism but that Alshamrani acted alone during the attack. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the terrorist group’s affiliate in Yemen, claimed responsibility for the attack in February.

Alshamrani had been in the U.S. since 2017 as part of a U.S. program to train members of the Royal Saudi Air Force. A subsequent Justice Department investigation found 21 Saudi trainees possessed “derogatory material” including jihadist or anti-American content on their social media profiles and were sent back to the kingdom.

In January, Barr said Alshamrani had two cellphones, one of which he placed on the ground and shot, and another that was also damaged. The attorney general criticized Apple at the time for not helping investigators gain access to the phones.

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