A man who died in a gun battle attempting to storm a Texas naval air station was originally from Syria and had social media accounts expressing support for groups like Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), according to press reports.
On early Thursday, Adam Alsahli, 20, drove to the North Gate of NAS Corpus Christi, shot a sailor in her ballistic vest, drove into a barrier and abandoning his vehicle, according to CNN. Alsahli was killed in the subsequent shootout at the gate with Navy Security Forces, USNI News confirmed on Thursday. The sailor was released from treatment on Thursday with minor injuries, Navy officials told USNI News.
Following the shooting, the FBI assumed the lead in investigating based on Alsahli’s ethnic background as an “Arab male,” a U.S. official told USNI News on Thursday. The FBI and Corpus Christi police raided a house where Alsahli was believed to live, reported local station KRIS 6 News.
Originally from Syria, the U.S. resident had made several posts on social media in support of groups like AQAP, reported CNN.
Authorities did not elaborate on a motive for the attempted attack on the air station other than saying it was “terrorism-related,” Supervisory Senior Resident Agent Leah Greeves said in a brief statement on Thursday.
Greeve said authorities were looking for a second person of interest related to the attack but no additional information about that search was released.
“We are not ruling out any possible motives and continue to investigate all leads. When we are able to release additional information, we will do so,” according to a late Thursday Tweet from the FBI’s Houston office.
Naval Air Station Corpus Christi is home to the four squadrons of Training Air Wing Four, which uses Truax Field on base and outlying airfields. Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and foreign student pilots train at the base.
Naval Air Station Corpus Christi also houses the Corpus Christi Army Depot which serves as the primary maintenance depot for Department of Defense rotary-wing aircraft. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Service also operates from Naval Air Station Corpus Christi.
The shooting comes days after the Attorney General William Barr linked the NAS Pensacola, Fla., shooter that killed three sailors in December to AQAP. Two iPhones belonging to Royal Saudi Air Force 2nd Lt. Ahmed Mohammed Alshamrani, a foreign military student assigned to the base, contained messages that the FBI say linked him to AQAP. Barr called the December shooting an, “act of terrorism.”
Last year the NSF fatally shot Daniel King after he drove a stolen sport utility vehicle onto the base through an exit, according to KRIS 6 News in Corpus Christi. At the time, Navy investigators and local law enforcement officers did not have a motive for the King’s actions.