Friday morning’s triple-fatality shooting at the U.S. Naval Base in Pensacola, Florida, included 2014 Enterprise High School graduate Joshua Kaleb Watson. Watson was 23.
The alleged gunman was Saudi national Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, who opened fire in a classroom, killing three students before being killed by responding officers.
Watson was reportedly a recent graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and dreamed of becoming a Navy pilot. He had only been in Pensacola for two weeks for flight training.
The United American Patriots posted Watson’s older brother Adam Watson’s Facebook message late Friday: “Joshua Kaleb Watson saved countless lives today with his own. After being shot multiple times he made it outside and told the first response team where the shooter was and those details were invaluable.
"He died a hero and we are beyond proud but there is a hole in our hearts that can never be filled.”
Enterprise Mayor Bill Cooper also released a statement:
"The Enterprise community suffered a tremendous blow Friday upon hearing of the death of one of our own, Joshua Watson.
“A sailor stationed at Pensacola, young Watson was killed in a senseless active shooter attack at Pensacola Naval Air Base. I do not know details of the attack at this time, but we know that Joshua was a hero saving his country at the time of his death. I am proud of him for his service and dedication to his country.
“On behalf of the (Enterprise) City Council, we offer our deepest condolences to Joshua’s parents and his family. We are shocked and saddened by the loss of this young man, who has been described by EHS officials as an exceptional student with a bright future. We are now left to mourn with Joshua’s family about what might have been.
“He has made the ultimate sacrifice, and though we do not understand, we are grateful.
“The City of Enterprise has endured losses in the past, including men and women of the military that have left us tragically, and too young. Once again, we ask our community to come together to pray for strength and comfort for Joshua’s parents, to mourn and remember him, and to pay tribute to his sacrifice.”
Cooper has requested Gov. Kay Ivey to declare flags be flown at half-staff in Enterprise in honor of Watson until after he is laid to rest.
Enterprise High School released the following statement:
“Words cannot describe the feeling of pain and sadness we feel in learning of the tragic death of EHS graduate Josh Watson. Josh was an incredible young man with an incredibly bright future. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Watson family and other families dealing with this horrible act of violence. We truly lost an incredible young man that would have made this country, this world a better place. God bless.”
Alshamrani reportedly hosted a dinner party the night before to watch videos of mass shootings. As many as 10 other Saudi students are being held at the base while others are still unaccounted for.
Alshamrani was an aviation student. His attack with a handgun also injured eight others, including two deputies, besides the three fatalities. Weapons are not allowed on the base.
The shooter was a member of the Saudi military who was in aviation training at the base.
The shooting has yet to be declared a terrorist act.
President Donald Trump relayed a message from Saudi King Salman, who said “this person in no way shape or form represents the feelings of the Saudi people.”
The Naval base houses up to 60,000 members of the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard, as well as a couple of hundred students from outside the U.S. enrolled in training.
The Pensacola shooting was the second at a U.S. naval base in a week as a sailor whose submarine was docked at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, earlier in the week, killing two civilian employees before killing himself.