PENSACOLA             -            Four people died, including the suspect, and seven people were wounded Friday morning in a shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida— the second shooting at a US Navy base this week.

The shooting began around 6:30 am Friday and was reported around 7 am, authorities said.

Two units responded to a classroom building on the base within “a couple of minutes” of receiving reports, said Chip Simmons, sheriff’s office deputy. The shooting happened on two floors of the building.

Two deputies stopped the shooter and sustained injuries. One was shot in arm and treated at a local hospital, and one was shot in knee and was undergoing surgery. Authorities could not publicly say if the suspect was a member of the military or if the shooting was being considered an act of terrorism.

Eight patients, including the deputies were accepted at nearby Baptist Hospital. One died at the hospital, and three died on the base, including the shooter.

The names of the victims will not be released until the next of kin have been notified, authorities said. “Walking through the crime scene was like being on the set of a movie,” said Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Amber Southard. “This doesn’t happen in Escambia County. This doesn’t happen in Pensacola. ... So now we’re here to pick up the pieces.”

The Navy base remained closed all day Friday. NAS Pensacola, situated in the far western Panhandle, employs more than 16,000 military and 7,400 civilian personnel in Escambia County, according to the station’s website.

 

Home of the Blue Angels and the National Naval Aviation Museum, the air station is also the primary training base for all US Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard officers pursuing designation as Naval Aviators and Naval Flight Officers.

“This is a tragic day for the city of Pensacola,” said Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson. “We’re a military town. Our hearts and prayers are connected to those that serve us every day. And certainly the expectation that this would happen to us here, at home, was unexpected.”

Vice President Mike Pence said on Twitter that he was “praying for the victims & their families.”