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US Vigil held for victims of shooting at naval base

01:10  08 december  2019
01:10  08 december  2019 Source:   abcnews.go.com

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Just a few miles down the road from where three people were killed by a gunman at a Florida naval base, a community came together to heal.

a truck with graffiti on the side of a road: A vehicle drives by a tribute to victims of the Naval Air Station Pensacola that was freshly painted on what is known as Graffiti Bridge in downtown Pensacola, Fla., on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019.© Brendan Farrington/AP Photo A vehicle drives by a tribute to victims of the Naval Air Station Pensacola that was freshly painted on what is known as Graffiti Bridge in downtown Pensacola, Fla., on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019.

About 50 people gathered Saturday for a vigil in honor of the victims at the Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, located about 3 miles from Naval Air Station Pensacola where the shooting broke out Friday morning.

The shooter, identified by authorities as Mohammed Alshamrani, a Saudi national and member of the country's air force who was in the U.S. for flight training, was shot and killed at the scene by officers, according to the Escambia County Sheriff's Office.

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The victims have not yet been identified.

"This was a terrible event. I think we're all questioning why," Pensacola Mayor Grover C. Robinson IV, told the audience. "We can't control some of these individuals who wish to do harm."

Yet, amid the tragedy, Robinson said he was reminded of the city's spirit.

"Everyone working together to work in support of a mission … that's what this community is," he said.

Chief Deputy Chip W. Simmons, of the Escambia County Sheriff's Office, also attended the vigil and described getting the call about the active shooter.

While officials often get reports of an active shooter, this was the first at the naval base, "at a facility that we take so much pride in."

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He remembers the closer he got to the facility, "the more gunshots I heard over the police radio."

"It isn’t until everything’s settled down you realize what you’ve seen," Simmons said. "What you’re experiencing is the loss of life, hatred … but also you realize what you’re seeing is heroism.”

MORE: The Pensacola naval base shooting suspect was identified as member of the Saudi military. Why was he there?

Simmons said officials are still working to determine exactly what unfolded and why, including whether or not the incident was terror-related.

According to two law enforcement officials briefed on the investigation, authorities are urgently focused on two likely possible motives: whether the shooter had religious or ideological reasons, or whether there was a problem that developed in the course of his training at Pensacola.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper echoed that the investigation is ongoing at the Reagan Defense Forum Saturday afternoon: "I can’t say it’s terrorism at this time." He said he will let the FBI do its work to determine the cause.

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1. People placing flowers by makeshift memorial to victims , sign reads in English and Korean, "We express regret for the victims (killed) by the Korean

A shooting at the Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida left three dead and eight injured on In recent months, President Trump has held fast against bipartisan congressional efforts to rebuke Two victims died on the base , and the other at Baptist Hospital. Their identities have not been released.

a group of people standing in a parking lot: Florida State Troopers block traffic over the Bayou Grande Bridge leading to the Pensacola Naval Air Station following a shooting on December 06, 2019 in Pensacola, Florida.© Josh Brasted/Getty Images Florida State Troopers block traffic over the Bayou Grande Bridge leading to the Pensacola Naval Air Station following a shooting on December 06, 2019 in Pensacola, Florida.

Eight people were transported to the hospital with injuries, police said. The conditions of those victims have not yet been officially released.

However, Simmons said the three police officers among the injured are "going to be fine." He said he didn't know the conditions of the others.

None of those injured have been identified.

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Pastor Ted Traylor urged the community to support one another during this time. He also called on residents to be mindful when speaking about the tragedy.

"There’s gonna be conversations about what’s happened over here and I’m gonna ask you be mindful when you have those conversations," Traylor said. "It’s a small community here and the person standing to the left or right could be involved."

Just as there will be heightened security around the base, he said, "I pray that our community has a heightened sense of sensitivity.”

ABC News' Luis Martinez, Josh Margolin, Aaron Katersky and Christina Carrega contributed to this report.

All eight people injured in NAS Pensacola shooting released from hospital .
More than a week after the deadly shooting at NAS Pensacola, all eight of the people who were injured have been released from the hospital. Base officials confirmed Saturday that the last person who was hospitalized has since been discharged.The shooting Dec. 6 resulted in the deaths of four people — including the gunman, a second lieutenant in the Royal Saudi Air Force — and the wounding of eight others.Three young naval aviators were killed in the attack, Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, 19; Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23; and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters,  21.© John Blackie/jblackie@pnj.

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