Victim in Pensacola Shooting Identified as U.S. Naval Academy Grad, 23, Who 'Died a Hero'
Three innocent people were killed and seven were injured at a Navy base in Pensacola
One of the Pensacola shooting victims has been identified as United States Naval Academy graduate Joshua Kaleb Watson.
His brother, Adam Watson, confirmed the 23-year-old’s death in a post on Facebook, calling his brother a “hero.”
“Today has been the worst day of my life. My youngest brother gave his life for his country in a senseless shooting,” Adam wrote on Friday.
After being shot, Joshua rushed out of the base in order to tell the response team where the shooter was headed, according to Adam.
“Joshua Kaleb Watson saved countless lives today with his own,” the grieving sibling shared. “After being shot multiple times he made it outside and told the first response team where the shooter was and those details were invaluable. He died a hero and we are beyond proud but there is a hole in our hearts that can never be filled.”
Joshua was shot at least five times, according to his father Benjamin, who spoke with USA Today recently. “Heavily wounded, he made his way out to flag down first responders and gave an accurate description of the shooter. He died serving his country,” he said.
Benjamin also noted that Joshua reported to Pensacola two weeks prior for flight training.
A total of three people were killed and seven were injured when an active shooter opened fire Friday morning on a naval base in Pensacola, Florida, authorities said at a Friday press conference.
Calls for an active shooter at the Naval Air Station Pensacola came in at 6:51 a.m., authorities said. The shooting occurred in one of the classrooms on the compound, which serves as a training base.
The gunman was killed by deputies from the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, who responded within minutes. Two responding deputies who engaged the suspect were shot but they are expected to fully recover, authorities said.
On Saturday, the Navy identified the victims as Watson, Mohammed Sameh Haitham, a 19-year-old student at the Naval Aviation Schools Command and Cameron Scott Walters, a 21-year-old student at the same school.
“The sorrow from the tragic event on NAS Pensacola will have a lasting impact on our installation and community,” Capt. Tim Kinsella, commanding officer, NAS Pensacola, said in a statement. “We feel the loss profoundly and grieve with the family and friends of the deceased. The Sailors that lost their lives in the line of duty and showed exceptional heroism and bravery in the face of evil. When confronted, they didn’t run from danger; they ran towards it and saved lives. If not for their actions, and the actions of the Naval Security Force that were the first responders on the scene, this incident could have been far worse.”
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CBS News reported that the shooter was Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani. He was a member of Saudi Arabia’s Air Force who was training at the base.
Navy Capt. Tim Kinsella, the base’s commanding officer, said there are approximately “a couple hundred” foreign nationals training at the base. He also said that “weapons are not authorized” on the base.
This is the second shooting incident on a Navy base in the last week.
On Wednesday afternoon, a United States sailor opened fire at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, killing two civilian employees and injuring one before he fatally shot himself.