Dec 07, 2019 7:22 PM

Official: Suspect watched shooting videos before U.S. navy base attack

Posted Dec 07, 2019 7:22 PM

First responders on the scene Friday photo courtesy WTVM


PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) — The Saudi student who fatally shot three people at a U.S. naval base in Florida hosted a dinner party earlier in the week where he and three others watched videos of mass shootings, a U.S. official told The Associated Press on Saturday.


One of the three students who attended the dinner party videotaped outside the building while the shooting was taking place at Naval Air Station Pensacola on Friday, said the U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity after being briefed by federal authorities. Two other Saudi students watched from a car, the official said.


The official said 10 Saudi students were being held on the base Saturday while several others were unaccounted for.

U.S. officials had previously told the AP they were investigating possible links to terrorism.


The student opened fire in a classroom at the base Friday morning, killing three people.


A U.S. official who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Friday identified the shooter as Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani. The official wasn’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly. The official also said the FBI was examining social media posts and investigating whether he acted alone or was connected to any broader group.



The assault, which prompted a massive law enforcement response and base lockdown, ended when a sheriff’s deputy killed the attacker. Eight people were hurt in the attack, including the deputy and a second deputy who was with him.


Family members on Saturday identified one of the victims as a 23-year-old recent graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy who alerted first responders to where the shooter was even after he had been shot several times.


“Joshua Kaleb Watson saved countless lives today with his own,” Adam Watson wrote on Facebook. “He died a hero and we are beyond proud but there is a hole in our hearts that can never be filled.”


Florida U.S. Sen. Rick Scott issued a scathing statement calling the shooting — the second on a U.S. Naval base this week — an act of terrorism “whether this individual was motivated by radical Islam or was simply mentally unstable.”

During a news conference Friday night, the FBI declined to release the shooter’s identity and wouldn’t comment on his possible motivations.


“There are many reports circulating, but the FBI deals only in facts,” said Rachel L. Rojas, the FBI’s special agent in charge of the Jacksonville Field Office.

Continue Reading St Joseph Post
Dec 07, 2019 7:22 PM
Supreme Court delays start of federal executions

(Wesley Ira Purkey is from Kansas. His execution is scheduled for Dec. 13, for raping and killing 16-year-old Jennifer Long before dismembering, burning and dumping her body in a septic pond in 2003)



WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has blocked the Trump administration from restarting federal executions next week after a 16-year break.


The justices denied the administration’s plea to undo a lower court ruling in favor of inmates who have been given execution dates. The first of those had been scheduled for Monday, with a second set for Friday. Two more inmates had been given execution dates in January.


Attorney General William Barr announced during the summer that federal executions would resume using a single drug, pentobarbital, to put inmates to death.


U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan in Washington, D.C., temporarily halted the executions after some of the chosen inmates challenged the new execution procedures in court. Chutkan ruled that the procedure approved by Barr likely violates the Federal Death Penalty Act.


The federal appeals court in Washington had earlier denied the administration’s emergency plea to put Chutkan’s ruling on hold and allow the executions to proceed.


Federal executions are likely to remain on hold at least for several months, while the appeals court in Washington undertakes a full review of Chutkan’s ruling.


The Supreme Court justices directed the appeals court to act “with appropriate dispatch.”


Justice Samuel Alito wrote in a short separate opinion that he believes the government ultimately will win the case and would have set a 60-day deadline for appeals court action. Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh joined Alito’s opinion.


Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said the legal fight would continue. “While we are disappointed with the ruling, we will argue the case on its merits in the D.C. Circuit and, if necessary, the Supreme Court,” Kupec said in a statement.

Four inmates won temporary reprieves from the court rulings. Danny Lee was the first inmate scheduled for execution, at 8 o’clock Monday morning. Lee was convicted of killing a family of three, including an 8-year-old.


The government had next planned on Friday to execute Wesley Ira Purkey, who raped and murdered a 16-year-old girl and killed an 80-year-old woman. His lawyers say Purkey is suffering from dementia and he has a separate lawsuit pending in federal court in Washington, D.C.


Then in January, executions had been scheduled for Alfred Bourgeois, who tortured, molested and then beat his two-and-a-half-year-old daughter to death, and Dustin Lee Honken, who killed five people, including two children.


A fifth inmate, Lezmond Mitchell, has had his execution blocked by the federal appeals court in San Francisco over questions of bias against Native Americans. Mitchell beheaded a 63-year-old woman and her 9-year-old granddaughter.