by Paul Garilao, ABS-CBN News
PENSACOLA, FL — Flags were flown half-mast as Pensacola residents continued to mourn the lives lost in a horrific tragedy last Friday.
A gunman opened fire, killing three active-duty service members and injuring eight people at the Naval Air Station in what the FBI has called an act of terrorism.
The shooter was identified as Mohammed Alshamrani, a second lieutenant in the Royal Saudi Air Force and a student naval flight officer.
He was shot dead by the police during a gunfire exchange.
The victims were identified as Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, Airman apprentice Cameron Scott Walters and ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson.
Officials said the sailors showed bravery as they confronted the gunman to save the lives of other people inside the military facility.
The gunman legally and lawfully purchased the 9-mm gloc 45 firearm in Florida.
Florida governor Ron De Santis called for stronger vetting of foreign nationals before they’re allowed for military training in the U.S.
“To have them take out three of our sailors, to me that’s unacceptable and I think that could have been prevented…”
On Sunday, the Fil-Am Baptist church was among the churches in Pensacola that held a prayer vigil for the victims and their families.
At least eight members of the Filipino-based church work at the military base, but all are safe and accounted for during the shooting.
Parishioner Abner Manimtim said he has not seen anything this tragic in the last 20 years he’s lived in Pensacola.
“I am hurting for the family because I am also a military. I know their purpose is to serve their country…//FLASH “Pensacola is a peaceful community. We don’t expect to happen like that. It has happened. But let’s pray it will not happen again.”
On Sunday afternoon, the caskets of the three fallen sailors were escorted aboard an aircraft bound for Dover, Delaware for autopsies.
“The mural that you see behind me was done by an artist a few hours after the mass shooting. It symbolizes that Pensacola residents are watchful and vigilant amid the tragedy.