A Saudi man at the Pensacola Navy base reportedly recorded the deadly shooting from outside the building where it took place

insider@insider.com (Rosie Perper)
A general view of the atmosphere at the Pensacola Naval Air Station following a shooting on December 06, 2019 in Pensacola, Florida. The second shooting on a U.S. Naval Base in a week has left three dead plus the suspect and seven people wounded.

Josh Brasted/Getty Images

  • A Saudi national at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida recorded the shooting from in front of the building where it took place, according to The New York Times.
  • A person briefed on the investigation into the incident told The Times that the Saudi national who recorded the incident said that he and two others had coincidentally been there during the shooting and had gotten "caught up in the moment." 
  • The shooting took place on Friday when 21-year-old 2nd Lt. Mohammed Alshamrani of the Royal Saudi Air Force opened fire in a classroom, killing three young service members. Alshamrani was killed by responding officers. 
  • Investigators are probing the shooter's friends to"discern if any possible ideology" played a role in the attack. 
  • Authorities say they are treating the incident as a terror attack
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

A Saudi national at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida recorded the shooting from in front of the building where it took place, according to The New York Times.

A person briefed on the investigation into the incident told The Times that several Saudi nationals were detained for questioning after the shooting. One of those people had recorded the shooting from outside the classroom building.

He later told investigators that he and two others had coincidentally been there during the shooting and had gotten "caught up in the moment" and began filming, The Times said. 

The Pensacola base hosts around 200 foreign military trainees, the Times said, adding that Alshamrani was undergoing flight training while at the base.

The shooting took place on Friday when 21-year-old 2nd Lt. Mohammed Alshamrani of the Royal Saudi Air Force opened fire in a classroom, killing three young service members. Alshamrani was killed by responding officers. 

Rachel Rojas, FBI special agent in charge, said in a press conference that investigators are probing the shooter's friends to"discern if any possible ideology" played a role in the attack. She added that Alshamrani used a 9-millimeter handgun that was purchased legally in Florida.  

"There are a number of Saudi students who are close to the shooter and continue to cooperate in this investigation," Rojas said, adding that the incident was being treated as an "act of terrorism."

"The Saudi government has pledged to fully cooperate with our investigation," she said.

A US official told the Associated Press on Saturday that the gunman hosted a dinner party a week before the attack, where he and three other friends watched videos of mass shootings. The official added that one of the three students who attended the dinner party was the person who recorded the attack from outside the classroom building. They added that two other Saudi students watched from a nearby car. 

The FBI confirmed in a statement on Sunday that it accessed surveillance videos as well as the cellphone footage of the attack. US Defense Secretary Mark Esper confirmed that at least one Saudi national filmed the shooting. 

Rojas did not confirm reports of Alshamrani's dinner party or that other students were involved in the planning of the attack. She added that all international students at the base have been accounted for and that there is no immediate threat to the community.

"Our main goal is to confirm whether he acted alone or was he part of a larger network," she said. 

According to The Wall Street Journal, Saudi authorities are also investigating to see if the shooter was radicalized during a trip back to Saudi Arabia last year. Saudi officials told The Journal that Alshamrani was not suspected of being involved in criminal or extremist activity before the attack. 

Read the original article on Insider