Sunday 19 January 2020

US to expel 21 Saudi cadets after fatal shooting at Florida navy base

Mohammed Alshamrani made a complaint about the remark. Photo: Reuters
Mohammed Alshamrani made a complaint about the remark. Photo: Reuters

Eric Tucker and Michael Balsamo

The US Navy is preparing to remove 21 Saudi Arabian military students from a training program after an investigation into a deadly shooting by a Saudi aviation student at a Florida navy base.

Saudi Air Force officer Mohammed Alshamrani shot three US sailors and injured eight other people at the Pensacola facility last month.

Those to be expelled have not been accused of helping the 21-year-old, a US official told the Associated Press.

The Justice Department has been investigating the incident as an act of terrorism, with flight training suspended for about 175 Saudi students across three bases during the probe.

It is understood the Saudi trainee military pilot launched the attack after an instructor called him "porn stash", suggesting his moustache resembled that of a pornographic film actor.

Mohammed Alshamrani, a second lieutenant in the Royal Saudi Air Force, made a complaint over the incident in April, which he said left him embarrassed and angry.

The phrase was spelt that way in Alshamrani's subsequent complaint, but was taken to be a reference to his moustache looking like that of a male adult film performer.

The incident happened at the end of a training session at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida.

Alshamrani carried out his attack on Friday, eight months later, at the same base.

PA Media

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