Military bases across the United States have been put on high alert in the wake of Friday’s mass shooting at Navy Station Pensacola.
US Northern Command, also known as NORTHCOM, sent out an advisory calling for an increase in security checks on Saturday night, according to Fox News.
It comes as the FBI continues to hunt for several Saudi military students from Pensacola, who have seemingly vanished in the wake of Friday’s attack.
Fellow Saudi Mohammed Saeed al-Shamrani, 21, killed three and wounded 12 others at the base before he was shot dead by police.
Investigators have now detained 10 Saudi military students from the base – a number revised up from six – but several others remain unaccounted for.
Authorities have not revealed the number of Saudi students they are still looking for, and they have not stated whether they are a risk to the public.
The New York Times reports that al-Shamrani and three fellow Saudi students traveled from Pensacola to New York last week, where they visited several museums and are thought to have watched the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
The tree lighting, attended by thousands of people, took place on Wednesday evening – just 36 hours before the shootings occurred.
According to one source, investigators are probing the motive for the group’s trip to the city. They also want to know who the men met with while they were there.
Meanwhile, sources with knowledge of the investigation say that three Saudi serviceman joined al-Shamrani for a dinner party on Thursday night to watch videos of mass shootings.
In the hours leading up to the attack, the shooter appeared to have posted criticism of U.S. wars in the Middle East to social media, saying he hated Americans for ‘committing crimes not only against Muslims but also humanity’ and for the country’s support of Israel.
He also posted a quote from assassinated al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, according to SITE Intelligence Group. The shooter’s Twitter account was taken down subsequent to the attack.
It has also been reported that one Saudi student allegedly videotaped al-Shamrani’s attack, while two others watched from a nearby car. It’s believed that those three Saudis are among the 10 who have been detained.
While Friday’s shooting his has not yet been officially deemed a terror attack, FBI terrorism investigators have been pictured investigating at the Pensacola base.
The latest: Military bases are put on high alert
US Northern Command, also known as NORTHCOM, issued the alert on Saturday in the wake of Friday’s attack at Pensacola, and a separate, unrelated attack at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on Wednesday.
A sailor whose submarine was docked at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, opened fire on three civilian employees Wednesday, killing two before taking his own life.
‘Given the recent attacks at two military installations, the Commander, US Northern Command has directed all DoD [Defense Department] installations, facilities and units within the US Northern Command area of responsibility to immediately assess force protection measures and implement increased random security measures appropriate for their facilities,’ Lieutenant Commander Michael Hatfield told Fox News.
‘The advisory also told leaders to remind their workforce to remain alert and if they see something, to say something by immediately reporting to appropriate authorities any suspicious activity they may observe,’ Hatfield said.
Who was gunman Mohammed Saeed al-Shamrani?
Al-Shamrani was a second lieutenant attending the aviation school at Navy Station Pensacola. The Pentagon say his training with the US military began in August 2016, and was due to finish in August 2020.
One of al-Shamrani’s uncles told CNN on Saturday that he was shocked by the attack, as his nephew was ‘likable and mannered towards his family and the community’.
‘He had his religion, his prayer, his honesty and commitments’, the uncle stated.
Meanwhile, it’s been revealed that al-Shamrani used a handgun in the shooting, which he purchased from a dealer in Pensacola.
Non-citizens are prohibited from purchasing guns in the United States, unless they are equipped with a hunting license.
According to NBC, al-Shamrani was equipped with such a license.
The gun has been described as a Glock 45 9-millimeter handgun with an extended magazine.
al-Sharami allegedly had four to six other magazines in his possession at the time of his shooting.
Elsewhere, the FBI is examining social media posts and investigating whether al-Shamrani acted alone or was connected to any broader group.
On Friday evening, the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist media, claimed they had tracked a Twitter account belonging to al- Shamrani which featured a disturbing manifesto written just hours before the shooting.
Investigators are working to determine if it was in fact written by the shooter