Defense Secretary Says Too Soon to Label Pensacola Terrorism

FBI says it 'presumes' shooting was terrorism

Friday’s shooting attack at a Pensacola naval base by a member of the Saudi Air Force continues to be the subject of a serious investigation. Social media posts by the attacker point to an ideologically motivated attack, though the Trump Administration likely doesn’t want to accuse a Saudi military officer of terrorism.

To that end, Defense Secretary Mark Esper is avoiding putting any label of the attack, saying it is too early to characterize the attack, and that everyone needs to let the FBI do its work.

The FBI, by contrast, doesn’t seem to be waiting for itself to do its work, saying they already are working “with the presumption that this was an act of terrorism,” adding that they do this with most shooter investigations.

The shooter, 2nd Lt. Mohammed AlShamrani, was believed to have acted alone, though the investigation has not concluded that definitively. There were no arrests among the other foreigners at the base, including another Saudi who was videotaping the shooting.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of