PENSACOLA, FL —Naval Air Station Pensacola welcomed a high-profile visitor. Defense Secretary Mark Esper is visited the base this week.
It’s his first visit since three people were killed in a shooting at the Florida base last month. Esper met with officials to discuss security changes. He also visited US Southern Command in Miami-Dade County where he held a town hall.
Last month, a gunman opened fire at the Florida Naval base, killing three people and wounding seven others.Those wounded survived.St. Petersburg 19-year-old Mohammed Haitham was one of three people killed in a shooting.
The shooter, who was killed by police, was a Saudi national training at the base, which launched an investigation to determine if the shooting was an act of terrorism.
Some of Florida's top politicians criticized Saudi Arabia for the shooting, saying the Saudi government should have done a better job of vetting the gunman. Senator Rick Scott said on Fox News the program that allowed the gunman to train here should be suspended pending further review, and Senator Marco Rubio tweeted a review could fix any shortcomings in the vetting process.
Both senators are calling for the heroes of the shooting to be recognized. Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott recently asked Defense Secretary Mark Esper to award Purple Hearts to those who were wounded in the shooting last month.
In the letter to Esper, they also want valor medals awarded to those who stopped the deadly attack by a Saudi military trainee.