A man involved in a December shooting that killed three and injured eight at Naval Air Station Pensacola had clear ties to terrorism, authorities announced Monday.
The revelation came after FBI technicians succeeded in breaking into two cellphones that had belonged to Saudi Air Force Officer Mohamhed Alshamrani, the shooter who was fatally gunned down by law enforcement during the Dec. 6 rampage.
Investigators said Alshamrani killed three sailors and wounded others during the attack.
The news confirmed and announced Monday was something a local member of Congress always suspected.
“We followed that very closely,” said U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, who represents Florida’s 3rd Congressional District, of the Pensacola shooting. “When that happened, it was pretty much self-evident: This is definitely a terrorist attack on our shores. “
Yoho, a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said the news is not surprising to him.
“It's not a revelation. I mean, we all suspected that,” he said. “I mean, the postings he put, the videos he watched, the associations he had, the party he had watching ISIS videos right before he did this — it was all pretty much self-evident that this was a terrorist attack.”
United States Attorney General William Barr unveiled some of the details Monday.
“The FBI finally succeeded in unlocking Alshamrani’s phones,” Barr said. “The phones contained information previously unknown to us that definitively establishes Alshamrani’s significant ties to al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, not only before the attack, but before he even arrived in the United States.”
FBI Director Christopher Wray said the evidence developed from the killer's devices shows that the Pensacola attack was, what Wray called, “the brutal culmination of years of planning and preparation by a longtime al Qaeda Arabian Peninsula associate,” one of the deadliest branches of ISIS, which claimed credit for the attack.
Alshamrani, who was a member of the Royal Saudi Air Force, had been training at Naval Air Station Pensacola and was killed by law enforcement during the attack.