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Tipsheet

AG Barr: Pensacola Shooting was an 'Act of Terrorism'

AP Photo/Richard Drew

Attorney General Bill Barr officially categorized the recent shooting at a Pensacola Naval Air Station as an act of terrorism in a press conference this afternoon. Attorney General Barr also confirmed, via the Justice Department’s criminal investigation, that the perpetrator was highly motivated by jihadist ideology. The attack left killed three American soldiers.

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The assailant, Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, was present as part of a training program at the Pensacola base; he was a member of the Royal Saudi Air Force. Once discovered, an investigation was launched into other Saudi members present at the base. Ultimately, the investigation determined that the perpetrator acted alone, but some other Saudi trainees were said to have connections to extremist groups.

“On Dec. 6, 2nd Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, a member of the Royal Saudi Air Force, entered a building on the grounds of Pensacola Naval Air Station and killed three U.S. sailors and severely wounded eight other Americans.  Alshamrani was killed during the attack. This was an act of terrorism. The evidence shows that the shooter was motivated by jihadist ideology.  During the course of the investigation, we learned that the shooter posted a message on social media on Sept. 11 of last year that said: “the countdown has begun.”  Over Thanksgiving weekend, he visited the 9/11 Memorial in New York City.  He also posted other anti-American, anti-Israeli, and jihadi messages on social media, and did so two hours before his attack at the naval base, AG Barr said

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Due to the social media evidence surrounding the attack, AG Barr also asked Apple to unlock the shooters iPhones, in order to hopefully learn more about his motive and plans. Thus far, Apple has not agreed. 

“This situation perfectly illustrates why it is critical that investigators be able to get access to digital evidence once they have obtained a court order based on probable cause.  We call on Apple and other technology companies to help us find a solution so that we can better protect the lives of Americans and prevent future attacks,” AG Barr said.

Attorney General Barr, US Attorneys and the FBI continue to explore the details behind the attack.

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