Pensacola shooting prompts questions about vetting of foreign students on U.S. Military bases

8 On Your Side

TAMPA (WFLA) – There are concerns about the screening process of foreign students at U.S. Military bases in the wake of the deadly shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola.

The gunman, Mohammed Alshamrani, was a member of the Saudi Royal Air Force. The 21-year-old was training to be a pilot in Pensacola.

The Department of Defense tells 8 On Your Side Investigates, Alshamrani was one of 5,181 international students currently training on American soil. The students are from 153 countries, according to the department.

Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott has called for a review of the program that trains foreign nationals at U.S. Military bases.

“We expect every soldier and sailor in this country to be safe and the only way we can guarantee that is this program has got to be put on hold,” said Sen. Scott.

“There’s clearly people who hate our country, they clearly weren’t properly vetted.”

The Pentagon is reviewing the screening process for foreign students.

8 On Your Side Investigates has been working to determine the number of international students currently at MacDill Air Force Base. A spokesman for United States Special Operations Command says there are currently just two students. The students are getting trained at Joint Special Operations University.

According to the JSOU’s fact sheet, nearly 2500 international students received training through the school in 2018. It’s unclear how many of those students were trained on-site at MacDill last year. Special Operations Command is checking records now.

8 On Your Side is working to determine the vetting for foreign students at MacDill and beyond.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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