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Gunman watched shooting videos before rampage, says official

A Saudi Arabian military officer who shot and killed three people and wounded eight others Friday at the Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida had watched videos of mass shootings with other Saudi nationals just a day before the rampage, the Associated Press reported Saturday. AP reporter Brendan Farrington joins Hari Sreenivasan with more on the new developments.

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  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    This afternoon, the Associated Press reported that the gunman and others watched videos of mass shootings earlier in the week, and the AP also reported that other Saudi students on the scene videotaped the shooting. Joining us now from Pensacola is Associated Press reporter Brendan Farrington. Brendan, walk me through what it is that your sources are telling you about this video screening of mass shootings? What happened earlier in the week?

  • Brendan Farrington:

    Basically that there was a dinner party hosted by the shooter and they watched videos of active shooting events. That pretty much sums up what the source had to say. People who were at that party or at least one person who was at the party besides the shooter was among those that were outside the building and videotaping as the shooting took place.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    Is there a sense that everyone who was at that party is at the very least in contact now with local authorities? Are there any of those people who are unaccounted for?

  • Brendan Farrington:

    I'm told that whether it was people at that party or people who were involved in the videotaping, I'm not sure, but I am told that there are some Saudi students that are unaccounted for.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    There had not been any indication between the dinner party and now none of those people that were there saw this thing, thought, hey, you know what, this is pretty strange, I should tell someone?

  • Brendan Farrington:

    Well, apparently not. But I do not have that level of detail.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    Are they concerned that the students that were videotaping this were in on this? Is there any sense that this was a larger plan?

  • Brendan Farrington:

    The person I spoke with had that sense. The official does believe that based on briefings the official received, that this was a planned event.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    Now, is there any idea what the individual who perpetrated this has been doing the entire time that he has been in the United States? Because we heard that he had just reported for classes or for the courses that he was taking not too long ago.

  • Brendan Farrington:

    We're still waiting to get more information on that. The FBI is being very cautious about what it's revealing in this case because it is still an active investigation. They have said in news briefings that they don't want to reveal details that, you know, may aid other people who are possibly involved in this. So very little has come out from official sources on who he was and why he did this and anyone else who may have been involved.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    All right. The why he did this, the motivation. I mean, you've got folks like Governor Rick Scott saying, hey, this is an act of terrorism. The FBI has not called it that yet is that correct?

  • Brendan Farrington:

    They have not. No. They're again, that the FBI is being very careful. They're assuring us that the details will come out. But because they're still actively investigating this, they're not providing much detail about what they know. Yes, there is speculation by Senator Scott and others they believe this is an act of terrorism, but officially they're not saying that.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    I'm sorry. That's right. Senator Scott, not governor. But let me also ask, what is the, I guess, the climate like on the campus there or at least the people who would be going there? I know this is a Saturday now, but are people concerned about their safety going back there? I mean, this is a military campus?

  • Brendan Farrington:

    I don't think people are concerned about going back. We can't get on the campus right now. They're only letting people who live there, work there or have a personal business there onto the base. Reporters, people who are just part of the public and are curious are being turned away. Cars are being checked on the way in our way out.

    And so, but I can tell you, the mood in town, that base is very important to this town, this community. And, you know, people here are just stunned. This is kind of the lifeblood of Pensacola. And then, you know, particularly having the Blue Angels based here. The people who work there, who serve there very near and dear to this community. And people are stunned. People are shocked. You know, you're seeing an outpouring of support.

    You know, I've talked to a woman today who gave blood. A lot of people had just been giving blood as a way that they feel like they can help to do something to help the victims and the people who serve in this base.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    I know we have another sort of press conference coming later this evening. Any indication on what they're likely to present?

  • Brendan Farrington:

    That's a good question. I'm anxious to see it. Again, they've been very tight lipped about the investigation. I hope they provide more details of why this happened and who this person is. You know, there are a lot of questions that have yet to be answered.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    All right. Associated Press's Brendan Farrington joining us via Skype from Pensacola tonight. Thanks so much.

  • Brendan Farrington:

    Thank you.

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