In August 2020, a lawsuit was filed against the Government of Saudi Arabia by the families of victims of the Florida shooting. A 152-page complaint was filed in the federal court of Pensacola, asserting that the Saudi government was aware of the gunman’s radical conviction and could have averted the killings. The complaint is centered on a shooting incident at the Naval Air Station Pensacola, happened on December 6, 2019.
Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, a Saudi aviation student, sprayed bullets that took three lives and injured 13, including sheriff’s deputies. After nine months of the incident, a U.S. official disclosed that Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani was influenced by Al-Qaida before joining the U.S. military training program. The lawsuit casts a wide net of indictments against Alshamrani. It contends, for instance, the officials in KSA were aware of Alshamrani’s links with al-Qaida yet failed to monitor and report him. Families of the victims claimed that the shooter already informed his Saudi colleagues about his heinous intentions to kill, one night earlier. However, none of his fellows reported him and instead called him out ill on his absence.
The attack compelled an immediate investigation by the Trump administration. Subsequently, the then-Attorney General William Barr proclaimed, last year, that 21 Saudi trainees had social media accounts exhibiting anti-American sentiment, support for armed groups, or “contact with child pornography.” Consequentially, U.S. officials expelled several Saudi trainees. Though the Saudi government has not responded to the suit yet, however; it could be a litmus test for the Biden administration, who has pledged to reconsider Trump policies of silence on Human Rights conditions in KSA.