Victims of a shooting at a military base in the US state of Florida in 2019 and their families are suing Saudi Arabia, claiming the kingdom knew that the gunman had been radicalized and that the killings could have been prevented.
The lawsuit was filed in the Northern District of Florida on Monday on behalf of the families of the three who were killed and 13 others, including sheriff’s deputies, who were injured.
On December 6, 2019, Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, a Saudi Air Force officer training at the Pensacola Naval Air Station, shot and killed three US sailors.
The lawsuit comes nine months after US officials revealed that in the weeks leading up to the attack, Alshamrani had communicated with al-Qaeda operatives about planning and tactics and that he had been radicalized before coming to the US for a program of military training.
The lawsuit alleges that Saudi Arabia knew about the associations of Alshamrani with al-Qaeda and its radicalization, and yet failed to monitor, monitor or report it.
The suit also states that other Saudi trainees at the base knew about plans for the shooting in advance, but did nothing to stop it.
It is said that the gunman told fellow Saudi trainees at a dinner party the night before the attack that he was planning to carry out the shooting the following day, but they called sick in the morning instead of reporting it. While standing outside the building, one recorded the shootings; two others watched from a car nearby.
“None of the Royal Saudi Air Force trainees at the scene of the attack reported Al-Shamrani’s behaviour nor did they try to stop” it, the lawsuit says. “Because they supported it.”
The complaint also states that the fellow Saudi trainees of Alshamrani were aware that he had bought and stored firearms and ammunition in his barracks, and that prior to the attack, he had posted and shared extremist material on social media and screened videos of mass shootings.