Texas Naval base shooter believed to have expressed support for terrorist groups online

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The FBI announced that a shooting at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi was terror-related.

Posted: May 22, 2020 11:11 AM
Updated: May 22, 2020 11:11 AM

The deceased suspect in Thursday's shooting at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi in Texas was a 20-year-old male named Adam Alsahli of Corpus Christi, according to two law enforcement sources familiar with the ongoing investigation.

Alsahli drove to an entrance at the naval station and shot a security forces member in the chest, hitting the guard in her bulletproof vest and inflicting non-life-threatening injuries, according to one of the sources.

Alsahli then accelerated towards the gate entrance and crashed into a barrier. After exiting the vehicle, he began shooting, and was shot and killed by naval security forces.

Following the suspect's death, law enforcement bomb technicians cleared his body and vehicle, but found no explosive devices, one of the sources said.

A preliminary law enforcement investigation into the shooter has identified him as a US resident who was originally born in Syria, and likely a supporter of Salafi-jihadist ideology, according to one of the sources.

On Thursday evening, the FBI said it is "not ruling out any possible motives" in the shooting.

In a statement posted to Twitter the Houston office of the FBI said, "We are not ruling out any possible motives and continue to investigate all leads. When we are able to release additional information, we will do so."

Officials have identified various social media accounts, which initial reports indicate are likely associated with the shooter, the source said. Online postings by these accounts expressed support for ISIS and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the source said.

For now, federal investigators have not observed any claims of responsibility for the attack on online platforms used by terrorist groups, one of the sources said.

Although investigators have not currently discovered any information indicating Alsahli was inspired by, or connected to, the December 2019 terrorist attack on Naval Air Station Pensacola, one of the sources said this remains a key line of inquiry for investigators, especially due to the recent announcement by the Justice Department that the Pensacola shooter had terrorist ties.

FBI officials said earlier the shooting was terror-related.

Authorities previously said a shooter had been "neutralized," but there may be a second person of interest still at large, FBI Supervisory Senior Resident Agent Leah Greeves said during a short press briefing. The agent did not provide additional information.

FBI is leading the investigation

The base was put on lockdown after security forces responded to reports of an active shooter around 6:15 a.m. CT, according to the Navy.

The FBI is the lead investigative agency, according to a tweet from the bureau's Houston field office.

"All gates on the installation remain closed while first responders process the scene," the Navy said in its statement. "NCIS is en route, and state and local law enforcement are on scene."

Naval Air Station Corpus Christi has been home to Naval pilot training since 1941, according to its website.

Thursday's shooting took place just days after the FBI and the Justice Department announced it had found a link between al Qaeda and a Saudi military trainee who killed three US sailors and wounded several others in a terror attack last year on Naval Air Station Pensacola.

The shooter in that attack, who was killed by law enforcement, had communicated with al Qaeda operatives as recently as the night prior to the shooting, officials said.

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