The bodies of three sailors from Georgia, Alabama and Florida who were killed in a shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola on Friday have arrived at a military air base in Delaware, where federal medical examiners are investigating the case.
“There is a large-scale medical and legal death investigation that is happening. The Armed Forces Medical Examiner (System) actually has the remains. And they are conducting the investigation,” said Master Sgt. Holly Roberts-Davis, a spokeswoman for U.S. Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations at Dover Air Force Base.
Airman Apprentice Cameron Walters, 21, of Richmond Hill, was one of the three sailors killed in the shooting. The Navy identified the other two as Ensign Joshua Watson, 23, of Enterprise, Ala., and Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, 19, of St. Petersburg, Fla. They were students at Naval Aviation Schools Command. Eight others were injured. Five have been released from the hospital, the Navy announced Monday, and three are in stable condition.
Authorities identified the shooter as 2nd Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, 21, of the Royal Saudi Air Force, and said he was studying at the same institution in Pensacola. Alshamrani was fatally shot at the scene.
The FBI, which is investigating the case on the presumption that it is an act of terrorism, announced Monday on Twitter that the probe remains “fluid and active.” The agency posted a photo of a briefing Monday between Lawrence Keefe, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Florida; Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan; and Rachel Rojas, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Jacksonville, Fla., field office.
“We continue to focus on evidence collection and interviews,” the FBI said.
Walters served in the U.S. Navy Reserve and was considering full-time active service in the Navy. His father, Shane, who served in the Navy, released a statement saying that, when his son graduated from boot camp, “the grin on his face said it all. ‘Look at me, Dad, I’m going to be just like you.’
“To have the opportunity to earn his wings as a Navy Airman made him proud. And we, too, were so incredibly proud,” Shane Walters said. “We would chat on FaceTime daily and he would report all that he was learning and all that he was accomplishing. Most recently, he passed his ‘watch quals’ — little did he know that, by passing these, and being afforded the duty of a watchman, he would ultimately lose his life there on the quarterdeck.”
Richmond Hill Mayor Russ Carpenter also released a statement, saying: “I pray that we never forget the young man who left this peaceful community to protect the rights of all Americans by enlisting in the Navy and gave the ultimate sacrifice.”
“While some of us might react in anger in our grief, our greatest gift to Airman Apprentice Cameron Walters is our unwavering devotion and love to one another,” he said, adding, “his sacrifice was the ultimate gift of love to conquer evil and ensure greater peace for all of us.”
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