A survivor of the Pensacola shooting in which a Saudi flight student killed three sailors and wounded eight more has updated friends and family on his condition, telling them he ‘took some rounds to save people’.
Ryan Blackwell was one of those injured during Mohammed Alshamrani’s rampage last Friday. He posted a video update on his condition, telling viewers he ‘is doing well’ and is ‘expected to make a full recovery’.
Thanking the community for their support the high school assistant wrestling coach admitted: ‘I am still trying to piece everything together, just keep sending you prayers and I am going to keep fighting.’
Blackwell, who was on active duty with the Navy, added: ‘I am thankful to be here. Thankful for all you guys sharing the love with me and giving me hope. Course I took some rounds but I got to save some people in the process.’
It comes as its revealed gunman Alshamrani, who was killed by an officer during his attack, may have used exceptions written into federal law to get around a ban on foreigners buying guns in the United States.
For example, a foreigner who manages to obtain a state hunting license and can show proof of residency in that state can legally buy a gun.
Ryan Blackwell, pictured, was one of those injured during Mohammed Alshamrani’s rampage last Friday. He posted a video update on his condition, telling viewers he ‘is doing well’ and is ‘expected to make a full recovery’
Saudi Royal Air Force Second Lt. Mohammed Saeed al-Shamrani, pictured, killed three and wounded eight others, including Ryan, at Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida, on Friday
‘It seems every day we find a new loophole,’ said Adam Winkler, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law and an expert on gun laws and politics.
Authorities have not disclosed precisely how Alshamrani, a Royal Saudi Air Force officer undergoing months of flight training at the Florida military base, obtained the Glock 9 mm handgun. But the FBI said it was purchased legally in Florida.
Family members and others identified the three dead as Joshua Kaleb Watson, a 23-year-old graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy; Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, 19, of St. Petersburg, Florida, who joined the Navy after graduating from high school last year; and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters, 21, of Richmond Hill, Georgia.
It emerged as:
- The FBI said it has found no signs of any link between a cyberattack that crippled Pensacola and a shooting at the city’s navy base
- FBI confirmed Sunday Alshamrani had legally purchased the Glock 9mm pistol
- Authorities also believe he authored a series of social media posts in which he talked about U.S. support for Israel and scolded Americans for being anti-Muslim
- His fellow Saudi students are speaking directly with American investigators
- Colleagues say he appeared more religious after a trip home in February
- And it emerged the gunman had visited New York just two days before shooting
Investigators are trying to establish whether the killer in Friday’s attack at the base, 2nd Lt. Alshamrani, of the Royal Saudi Air Force, acted alone or was part of a larger plot.
Alshamrani hosted a dinner party for himself and three other Saudi trainees where they all watched videos of mass shootings together.
He also was found to have penned a hate-fueled manifesto on Twitter just hours before the violence erupted, according to an intelligence group who tracked down his account.
The killer has also visited the 9/11 memorial in New York just two days before shooting where he met up with at least five other Saudi airmen.
FBI confirmed Sunday Alshamrani had legally purchased the Glock 9mm pistol
In the aftermath of the rampage, which the FBI is treating as a terrorist attack, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis questioned whether foreigners should be allowed to buy guns.
The Republican governor said he supports the Second Amendment but it ‘does not apply to Saudi Arabians.’
Law enforcement officials from nations friendly to the United States who are here on official business as well as foreigners who have entered the U.S. through the visa waiver program are among those exempted from the laws against foreigners buying weapons.
In Florida, like many other states, foreigners and non-residents can buy a hunting license. Getting one requires no background check, and it can be done online. With that license in hand, a foreigner can then purchase a firearm, provided the would-be buyer can show the dealer proof that he or she is living in the state.
It is at that point that the person would have to undergo a background check.
In the aftermath of the rampage at the base, pictured, which the FBI is treating as terrorism, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis questioned whether foreigners should be allowed to buy guns
UCLA’s Winkler said: ‘Terrorists see our lax gun laws as an opening for terrorist attacks, that they don´t need to use bombs, they don´t need to commit suicide and blow themselves up. All they need to do is come to America and have easy access to guns.’
Obtaining the hunting license wouldn’t guarantee a foreigner a gun; buying one would still require demonstrating valid residency and passing a background check.
‘Obviously our background check system is largely not going to pick up criminal histories from abroad,’ said David Chipman, a retired agent with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive who is now a senior policy adviser with Giffords, the gun-control group.