After an investigation was launched into the deadly shooting at the Pensacola Naval Air Station that took place in December, United States authorities have sent 21 Saudi military students home on January 13.
US attorney general William Barr called the attack an act of terrorism and said that it was driven by some of the same motives that led to the attack on the World Trade Centre on September 11, 2001. The specific trainees who were removed reportedly had extremist or anti-American sentiments on social media pages or had 'contact with child pornography.'
However, none of the two dozen cadets is accused of having advance knowledge of the shooting or helped the 21-year-old Saudi gunman to carry out the attack. The US Department of Justice had reviewed whether any of the trainees should face legal charges but according to Barr, the conduct did not meet the standards for federal prosecution.
Mohammed Alshamrani, a member of the Saudi Air Force training to be a pilot killed three sailors and injured eight other people on December 6 at Naval Air Station Pensacola before he was shot dead by officers responding to the scene.
Reportedly, the shooter was availing basic aviation, initial pilot training, and English classes at the Pensacola base since 2017. The shootout at the home of the Navy’s fabled Blue Angels aerial demonstration team was the second instance of deadly gunfire at a US naval base in three days.
Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud had expressed his condolences to US President Donald Trump and family members of the victims. King Salman has also assured that Saudi Arabia will fully cooperate with the investigating agencies.
In another incident, a suspected shooter who killed two Department of Defense workers was identified as G Romero, who fired on civilians working at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard with his M4 service rifle. The 22-year-old man then shot himself down with his M9 service pistol, an official confirmed.
(With AP inputs)