Family of sailors killed in 2019 NAS Pensacola attack suing Saudi Arabia

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PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — The families of the three U.S. sailors killed during the 2019 terrorist attack at NAS Pensacola, along with other victims, are suing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The federal lawsuit alleges the Saudi Arabian government had not sufficiently screened or vetted Mohammad Al-Shamrani, the Saudi flight student who — on Dec. 6, 2019 — killed three servicemen and injured eight others.

The families of Ensign Joshua Watson, Petty Officer 3rd Class Mohammed Haitham, and Petty Officer 3rd Class Cameron Walters are named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

“Al-Shamrani’s intentional acts were a direct outgrowth of conduct that was within the scope of Al-Shamrani’s employment as (a Saudi) officer,” the lawsuit states. “If not for his employment with Royal Saudi Air Force, Al-Shamrani would not have had access to his victims, nor the knowledge, training, skill, opportunity, and capability required to successfully plan and commit the attack.”

The lawsuit contends Saudi Arabia’s alleged negligence makes them culpable.

“Accordingly, Saudi Arabia is liable for the tortious and wrongful conduct of its employees, 2nd Lt. Al-Shamrani …,” the lawsuit adds.

An investigation into the attack concluded Al-Shamrani had continuous contact with al-Qaida operatives throughout his time on base. He turned to social media posting many alarming indicators of his self-radicalization values.  

This is a developing story. The story will be updated when more information becomes available.

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