The Saudi student who fatally shot three sailors 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. Officials investigating the deadly attack were working Sunday to determine whether it was motivated by terrorism.
The Navy on Saturday identified the three victims and hailed them as heroes for trying to stop the shooter and flagging down first responders after being shot.
“The Sailors that lost their lives in the line of duty and showed exceptional heroism and bravery in the face of evil,” Capt. Tim Kinsella, the commanding officer of Naval Air Station Pensacola, said in a statement. “When confronted, they didn’t run from danger; they ran towards it and saved lives.”
The shooter opened fire inside a classroom at the naval base 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 were expected to survive.
The official who spoke to the AP said one of the three students who attended the dinner party hosted by the attacker recorded video outside the classroom building while the shooting was taking place. Two other Saudi students watched from a car, the official said.
Ten Saudi students were being held on the base Saturday while several others were unaccounted for, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity after being briefed by federal authorities.
CBS News’ David Begnaud reported Saturday night that the U.S. military’s northern command is telling all military bases to increase security checks after Friday’s attack.
The FBI identified the shooter in a statement Saturday night as Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, 21. Investigators said he was a 2nd Lt. in the Royal Saudi Air Force and was a student naval flight officer of Naval Aviation Schools Command.
Begnaud reports the FBI is investigating Alshamrani’s social media posts and whether he acted alone. According to the Middle East Media Research Institute, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., someone matching Alshamrani’s identity had an extensive online footprint.