Saudi authorities are investigating whether a member of its air force who fatally shot three people on a U.S. military base was radicalized during a trip back to the kingdom that began late last year, the Wall Street Journal reports. Mohammed Alshamrani used a handgun to open fire in a classroom Friday morning at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida, before being shot dead by sheriff’s deputies. U.S. authorities are investigating the shooting as an act of terrorism. FBI agent Rachel Rojas, said the terrorism probe allowed authorities to use certain investigative techniques that she didn’t specify. “Our main goal, right now, is to confirm whether he acted alone, or was he part of a larger network,” Rojas said.
Alshamrani, a 21-year-old second lieutenant in the Royal Saudi Air Force, had been in the U.S. since 2017 for a training program that he was scheduled to complete in August. The shooter used a 9mm Glock 45 handgun he had purchased legally in the U.S., Rojas said. Investigators are focused on determining his motive. Alshamrani’s training was in connection with the sale of U.S. military equipment to his country and was being funded by the Saudi government. Saudi Arabia has a history of sending members of its armed forces to the U.S. for training, all of whom are vetted for security concerns by Saudi and U.S. authorities. Saudi officials are trying to determine how Alshamrani spent his time and who he contacted during his trip to Saudi Arabia. The shooting has added strain to a frayed relationship between Saudi Arabia and the U.S. and disrupted attempts by the Saudi monarchy to repair its battered international image. The Pensacola shooting “looks like terrorism or akin to terrorism,” national security adviser Robert O’Brien said on CBS Sunday.