Alsahli drove to an entrance to the naval station and shot a security officer in the chest, hit the guard in her bulletproof vest and caused non-life-threatening injuries, according to one source.
Alsahli then accelerated to the entrance of the gate and hit a barrier. After he got out of the vehicle, he started shooting and was shot dead by Navy security forces.
After the suspect’s death, police bomb technicians cleared his body and vehicle but found no explosive devices, one of the sources said.
A preliminary law enforcement investigation of the shooter identified him as a U.S. citizen, originally born in Syria and likely a follower of the Salafi jihadist ideology, according to one of the sources.
On Thursday evening, the FBI said it was “ruling out no possible motives” in the shooting.
In a statement posted on Twitter, the Houston FBI office said, “We are not ruling out possible motives and we are continuing to investigate any evidence. If we are able to post additional information, we will.”
Officials have identified various social media accounts that initial reports suggest are likely linked to the shooter, the source said. Posting these accounts online expressed their support for ISIS and Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the source said.
At present, federal investigators have not established any liability claims for the attack on terrorist groups’ online platforms, one of the sources said.
Although investigators have currently not uncovered any information suggesting Alsahli was inspired or linked to the December 2019 terrorist attack on Naval Air Station Pensacola, one of the sources said it remains an important line of investigation for investigators, particularly due to the recent announcement by the Justice Department that the Pensacola shooter had terrorist ties.
FBI officials earlier said the shooting was terrorism related.
Authorities previously said one gunman had been “neutralized” but there might be a second person of interest, Leah Greeves, senior resident agent of FBI oversight, said during a brief press conference. The agent did not provide any additional information.
The FBI is leading the investigation
The base was locked after security forces responded to reports from an active rifleman around 6:15 a.m., according to the Navy.
The FBI is the lead investigative body, according to a tweet from the Houston branch office.
“All gates of the installation remain closed while first responders work on the scene,” said the Navy in its statement. “NCIS is on the move, and state and local law enforcement agencies are in place.”
The Naval Air Station Corpus Christi has hosted the training of naval pilots since 1941, according to its website. Thursday’s shooting came just days after the FBI and Justice Department announced they had linked al-Qaeda to a Saudi military intern who killed three US sailors and several others in a terrorist attack on Naval Air Pensacola station wounded last year.
The gunman in the attack, who was killed by law enforcement, had only communicated with al-Qaeda activists the night before the shooting, officials said.
CNN’s Ryan Browne and Josh Campbell contributed to this report.