An assailant opened fire Friday morning at Naval Air Station Pensacola, leaving three people dead and several others injured before Florida sheriff's deputies shot and killed him in the second deadly shooting at a naval base this week.

The gunman was a military pilot from Saudi Arabia training in the United States, according to a senior U.S. official.

Authorities have said little else about the shooting, or their investigation into the deadly attack, reports The Washington Post.

It was unclear whether the three deceased victims were service members or civilians, said Lt. Cmdr. Megan Isaac, a Navy spokeswoman. Multiple people were taken to hospitals, including two Escambia County sheriff's deputies who are expected to survive, Chief Deputy Chip Simmons said during a Friday morning news conference.

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Reports of an active shooting inside an air station classroom came in at 6:51 a.m., drawing a major law enforcement response in the Florida Panhandle city. The base was placed on lockdown, the Navy said, with its gates secured. After about an hour, the sheriff's office took to Facebook with an announcement: "There is no longer an active shooter on NAS Pensacola. The shooter is confirmed dead."

The incident shook a community whose identity is deeply entwined with the base, with many residents either employed there or tied to the industry that sprawls alongside Pensacola Bay. The number of personnel assigned there is almost half the population of the city itself.

As the military facility's gates remained closed into Friday afternoon, authorities stressed that they are in the beginning stages of their investigation. During the news conference, they said they did not want to comment on the identity of the shooter, including whether he or she had business on the base. They would not disclose the type of weapon used.

Police vehicles block the entrance to the Pensacola Air Base. Photo / AP
Police vehicles block the entrance to the Pensacola Air Base. Photo / AP

NAS Commanding Officer Capt. Timothy Kinsella also declined to specify which classroom had been targeted, saying he did not want to cause alarm to families of air station employees who were still in the process of being notified.

Baptist Health Care said it had admitted eight patients from the shooting but could not yet report on their conditions.

"Our teams are treating patients and we are working with Navy personnel to communicate with family members," the hospital said in a statement.

Naval Air Station Pensacola, which hosts 16,000 military personnel and more than 7,000 civilians, is known as the "cradle of Naval aviation." It's home to the Navy's Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron and is the first stop for training to become Naval pilots or flight officers. The air station schoolhouse also trains pilots from partner militaries around the world.

Base security and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service are investigating, the Navy said in a statement, adding that victims' names "will not be released until the next of kin have been notified."

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Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Twitter that the state's emergency management agency had deployed an official "to coordinate mental health resources for families impacted by this tragic shooting."

President Donald Trump said in a tweet that he had received a briefing on the incident and spoken with the governor.

"My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families during this difficult time," he wrote. "We are continuing to monitor the situation as the investigation is ongoing."

In Pensacola, officials called Friday a tragic day for the community, underscoring the close relationship between the city and the air station.

"For 200 years, they have been a part of the city of Pensacola. We're a military town," Mayor Grover Robinson said during the news conference. "Our hearts and prayers are connected to all those who serve us every day. Certainly the expectation that this would happen here are home was unexpected."

Jana Lormer, who is renovating her grandmother's home directly across the bayou from the base, comes from a long line of service members - like many in the neighborhood.

She said the area's usual sense of quietude had been shattered.

"I woke up and opened my texts to all of these messages and then looked across the water to see all the ambulances on the bridge," she said. "It was too close for comfort."

That sense of shock was echoed by Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan, himself a former service member.

"You just don't expect this to happen at home," he said. "This doesn't happen in Escambia County. This doesn't happen in Pensacola. This doesn't happen to our friends and neighbors who are members of the United States Navy. But it did. And it has. And so for now, we're here to pick up the pieces."

The shooting in Florida came just two days after a gunman opened fire at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam near Honolulu, killing two and injuring a third before shooting and killing himself.

The shooter in that incident was identified as an active-duty U.S. Navy sailor and his three victims as civilian Defense Department employees working on the base's shipyard.