US shooting: Saudi's Prince Khalid extends condolences

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Pensacola Naval Air Station
Aden - Yasmin Abdel Azim - A general view of the atmosphere at the Pensacola Naval Air Station following a shooting on December 06, 2019 in Pensacola, Florida. The second shooting on a U.S. Naval Base in a week has left three dead plus the suspect and seven people wounded. Image Credit: AFP

Miami: The Saudi military student who carried out a deadly shooting spree at a US naval base showed videos of mass shootings at a dinner party the night before the attack, The New York Times reported Saturday. 

The shooting Friday in a classroom building at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida left three dead and eight wounded, including two responding sheriff's deputies.

The revelation about the dinner party came as authorities probed whether the shooter had any accomplices. No additional details of the dinner party were reported by the Times, which cited a person briefed on the investigation.

"We're finding out what took place, whether it's one person or a number of people," President Donald told reporters. "We'll get to the bottom of it very quickly.

King Salman and Prince Khalid respond

Saudi Arabia's King Salman has denounced the shooting as a "heinous crime" and said the gunman "does not represent the Saudi people."

Prince Khalid bin Salman, the king's younger son and the deputy defense minister, offered his "sincerest condolences" to the families of the victims.

"Like many other Saudi military personnel, I was trained in a US military base, and we used that valuable training to fight side by side with our American allies against terrorism and other threats," Prince Khalid said on Twitter.

He added, "A large number of Saudi graduates of the Naval Air Station in Pensacola movedon to serve with their U.S counterparts in battlefronts around the world, helping to safeguard the regional and global security. Today's tragic event is strongly condemned by everyone in Saudi Arabia."

Victims and a hero

The victims have not been officially identified, but the older brother of Joshua Kaleb Watson said the 23-year old, who reported to the base for flight training two weeks ago, "saved countless lives today with his own."

Pensacola Air Base shooting 20191206
Police cars escort an ambulance after a shooter open fire inside the Pensacola Air Base, Friday, Dec. 6, 2019 in Pensacola, Fla. Image Credit: AP

"After being shot multiple times he made it outside and told the first response team where the shooter was and those details were invaluable," Adam Watson said in a post.

"He died a hero and we are beyond proud but there is a hole in our hearts that can never be filled."

A second victim was identified as Mohammed "Mo'' Haitham, 19, of St. Petersburg, Florida, who joined the Navy after graduating from high school last year, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Haitham's mother, Evelyn Brady, herself a Navy veteran, said the commander of her son's school called her and told her Haitham had tried to stop the shooter.

The former track and field star had been assigned to flight crew training and was looking forward to graduating from the program later this month, Brady said.

"He said he was going to get his flight jacket for Christmas,'' she said. "Now that's not going to happen.''

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