Pensacola, FL – An active shooter murdered three people and wounded at least seven other people at a Florida naval base on Friday morning.
Two Escambia County Sheriff’s Office (ECSO) deputies were among the wounded, WEAR reported.
The gunman opened fire inside a classroom building on the Naval Air Station Pensacola base just after 6:30 a.m., U.S. Navy Captain Timothy Kinsella told reporters during a press conference on Friday morning.
The shooting occurred at Building 633, which is a heavily-occupied building near the center of the base, U.S. Representative Matt Gaetz told WEAR.
Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said that deputies were dispatched to the scene at 6:51 a.m., and the first two deputies arrived within minutes, with many more that followed.
The law enforcement officers engaged in a shootout with the unnamed gunman inside one of the classrooms, Sheriff Morgan said.
During the exchange of gunfire, one deputy was struck in the knee and a second deputy was hit in the arm.
Both are expected to recover.
The gunman was fatally shot by one of the wounded deputies at approximately 7:45 a.m., WEAR reported.
A total of 11 people were wounded during the mass shooting, ECSO Chief Deputy Chip Simmons said during the press conference.
Eight were transported to Baptist Hospital, and one of those victims has succumbed to his or her wounds.
Three other people – including the gunman – died at the scene.
Although the base remains on lockdown, officials stressed that they have no reason to believe there is any ongoing threat.
Sheriff Morgan explained that law enforcement officers are still working to notify the family members of the deceased and wounded victims, and refused to release additional details about the ongoing investigation as a result.
“We ask for the prayers of the community and the assistance of the press – please be patient,” the sheriff said. “We have grieving families at this moment.”
Capt. Kinsella would not comment regarding whether the incident is being considered as an act of terrorism, and also would not confirm if the shooter was a member of the military.
Another press conference is expected to be held later on Friday afternoon, Sheriff Morgan said.
“Our heart goes out to those affected by this tragedy,” Capt. Kinsella said during the press conference. “They are a part of the Navy family.”
He also praised fellow law enforcement agencies who responded to the active shooter situation.
“It could have been a lot worse if we didn’t have the assistance we had from our community partners,” Capt. Kinsella added.
Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson said that the Florida governor’s office and White House have offered any assistance that might be needed.
“We’re a military town,” Robinson said during the press conference. “All of our sympathies are out here with the women and men here on the base.”
Gaetz told WEAR that the Pensacola base is the “home of naval aviation.”
“This is who we are. This is what we love, and its why our hearts break today,” he said. “I want to specially thank the first responders [and] the members of the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, who were active on the scene, and who did everything they could to limit casualties and neutralize the shooter.”
Capt. Kinsella said he was “very proud” of the joint law enforcement and military response to the incident.
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