Second deadly US naval base shooting


A mass shooting at a US naval base has left several people dead and many more injured for the second time in two days.

The latest deadly shooting unfolded when a gunman opened fire in a classroom building at Naval Air Station Pensacola, in Florida, on Friday around 7am.

The shooting suspect was an aviation student from Saudi Arabia and authorities are investigating if the shooting was terrorism-related, a US official said.

At least four people were killed - including the shooter - and seven others were injured, according to the US Navy.

FBI personnel from Pensacola, Jacksonville and Mobile, Alabama, are responding to the station, an FBI spokeswoman said.

About 45 minutes after the first shots rang out, the Escambia County Sheriff's Office confirmed on Facebook that the shooter was dead.

"Multiple injured personnel have been transported to local hospitals. We will continue to work closely with law enforcement agencies," Lieutenant Commander Megan Isaac said in a statement.

Baptist Health Care received eight patients from the shooting, according to spokeswoman Kathy Bowers. One of those patients later died, in addition to another three who were killed at the base. She said no further information was immediately available on their conditions.

Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan told reporters that attending the scene was ""was like being on the set of a movie".

"This doesn't happen in Escambia County. It doesn't happen in Pensacola. It doesn't happen to our friends and neighbours who are members of the US Navy," Mr Morgan said. "But it did, and it has."

Emergency responders at the Naval Air Base Station in Pensacola, Florida, Friday, December 6, 2019. Picture: WEAR-TV via AP.
Emergency responders at the Naval Air Base Station in Pensacola, Florida, Friday, December 6, 2019. Picture: WEAR-TV via AP.

Among those injured were two officers shot in an exchange of gunfire with the shooter, authorities said. They are expected to survive.

Base commander Captain Timothy Kinsella Jr. said the base will remain closed until further notice.

Jeff Bergosh, a facilities manager at the base, had just arrived at the front gates when the station was put on lockdown, trapping thousands of workers in their cars.

"It's been pretty surreal," Mr Bergosh told MSNBC. "We're just praying for all the victims.

"When this happened was prime-time rush hour for all the base employees," Bergosh said. "It was chaos with the ambulances and the police vehicles screaming by with the sirens. We knew pretty quickly that this was a pretty serious event."

Naval Air Station Pensacola employs more than 16,000 military and 7,400 civilian personnel, according to the base's website.



US President Donald Trump has been briefed on the situation, according to a White House spokesperson.

Vice President Mike Pence tweeted: "Saddened to hear of the horrible shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola & continuing to monitor the situation. Praying for the victims & their families & we commend the first responders for their swift action in taking down the shooter & getting those on base to safety."

The fatal incident comes just two days after an active-duty sailor opened fire with his M4 service rifle at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard in Hawaii, killing two and wounding a third before turning the gun on himself.

The shooter was later identified as 22-year-old Petty Officer Gabriel Romero.

Romero was a crew member aboard the submarine USS Columbia, which was dry-docked at the shipyard for maintenance.

The incident took place about 2.30pm local time.

"Base security and Navy investigative services are currently investigating," the base said.

"The names of the victims will not be released until the next of kin have been notified."

All three were male Department of Defence civilian workers, authorities said.

Rear Admiral Robert Chadwick, commander of Navy Region Hawaii, said: "our thoughts are with the families of the victims and everyone involved".

"This is certainly a tragedy for everyone here," he continued.

He said it wasn't immediately clear whether the gunman knew the victims or if they were targeted at random. | @Megan_Palin