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FBI identifies Texas Navy base shooter; possible Al Qaeda ties found

An Air Station Corpus Christi MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew transfers a patient awaiting emergency medical services personnel at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas, Dec. 3, 2018. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Air Station Corpus Christi)
May 22, 2020

The FBI identified Adam Salim Alsahli as the suspect who opened fire at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas on Thursday morning.

Alsahli, 20, attempted to ram through the gate, before getting out and opening fire. The FBI’s Houston office identified Alsahli in a tweet Friday. “UPDATE: Now that next of kin has been notified, the FBI officially confirms that the suspect in Thursday’s #CorpusNASShooting has been identified as 20 year old Adam Salim Alsahli,” the FBI tweeted.

Security forces at the front gate raised a barrier, stopping Alsahli from driving through. He reportedly got out and began firing after he was stopped. The FBI declared the shooting a terrorist incident on Thursday afternoon and indicated they were searching for a second person of interest in the shooting.

The Associated Press reported on Friday that social media accounts believed to belong to Alsahli, voiced support for Al Qaeda cleric Ibrahim al-Rabaysh. Alsahli’s potential Al Qaeda ties were identified by Rita Katz, director of the SITE Intelligence Group.

“1) BREAKING (thread): Killed #CorpusChristi shooter’s soc media supports killed AQAP official Ibrahim al-Rabaysh, Taliban & pro-AQ: “I love the Mujahidin, I’m not one of them and my sword is aimed over the necks of whoever doubts them (stabs them),” Katz tweeted. “No signs of #ISIS support.”

Two unnamed officials familiar with the investigation told the Associated Press that the Al Qaeda ties are being investigated further.

A Navy sailor working as a security guard at the front gate was injured in the attack. CBS DFW 21 reported the sailor was a female guard who, after having been struck, was able to roll over and raise the security gate.

“The injured Sailor was taken to a local hospital, deemed in good condition and released,” NAS Corpus Christi said in a statement it posted to Facebook.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Friday that the wounded sailor was “doing well.”

Esper also said the FBI had a good understanding of the shooter’s actions but that he would wait for the FBI to disclose those details.

“We hope to know more in the coming days as to what happened, what this person was motivated by,” Esper said. “But we need to let the facts come out, let the investigators do their job, and we’ll see where this ends up.”

News of Alsahli’s potential Al Qaeda ties come days after the Department of Justice assessed that Mohammed Alshamrani, the Royal Saudi Air Force who opened fire at NAS Pensacola, Florida in December had held ties with Al Qaeda for years as he planned his attack.