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Naval Air Station Corpus Christi shooting investigated as 'terrorism-related,' FBI reports

FOX News logo FOX News 5/21/2020 Bradford Betz
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The FBI said Thursday that a shooting at a Texas naval air station earlier in the morning that left the gunman dead is being investigated as “terrorism-related.”

The shooting began around 6:15 a.m. Thursday at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi. The shooter tried to speed through a gate at the base in a vehicle, but security personnel put up a barrier in time to stop the shooting, U.S. officials said.

The man got out of the car and opened fire, wounding a Navy sailor who is a member of the security force at the base. Security personnel killed the shooter during the exchange of gunfire, according to officials.

“We have determined that the incident this morning at the Naval Air Station Corpus Christi is terrorism-related,” FBI Special Agent Leah Greeves said at an afternoon press conference.

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice (DOJ) said the DOJ's "counterterrorism is working closely with the FBI, the U.S. Attorney's office in the Southern District of Texas and other federal and local authorities to expeditiously investigate the circumstances of this event and all available evidence, including electronic media found at the scene."

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Greeves said investigators were working to determine whether a second person of interest was at large in the community. She did not specify what led investigators to believe the shooting is related to terrorism.

A U.S. official told Fox News that the attacker was “an Arab male.” Federal investigators did not provide information about a possible second person of interest.

The facility was on lockdown for about five hours Thursday morning, but that was lifted shortly before noon.

U.S. officials told Fox News it took around five hours to access the body in the shooter's car because a bomb squad had to be brought in with robots to make sure the suspect was not wearing an explosive vest. Another official said the shooter had "lots of ammo."

In another incident at the Corpus Christi station in December 2019, a man pleaded guilty to destruction of U.S. government property and possession of a stolen firearm after ramming his truck into a barricade.

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Thursday’s shooting also comes months after a Saudi Air Force officer who was training at a Navy base in Florida killed three U.S. sailors and wounded eight other people in a shooting that officials described as an act of terrorism.

Top U.S. federal law enforcement officials this week said the gunman in December's attack, Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, had been in touch with Al Qaeda operatives about planning and tactics in the months before the shooting. Alshamrani was killed by a sheriff's deputy.

Fox News' Jake Gibson and Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report, as well as The Associated Press.

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