American killed east of Saudi capital Riyadh
Terrorism ruled out in Riyadh shooting
• American citizen killed, another injured
• Gunman cornered, arrested by responding policemen
• Suspect was earlier fired by Vinnell Arabia for misconduct
Police and US officials ruled out terrorism in the shooting of two US citizens in Riyadh on Tuesday, saying the gunman was a former co-worker of the victims who was fired by their employer for misconduct.
Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, said the attacker has been identified as Abdul Aziz al-Rashed, a former employee of defense contractor Vinnell Arabia, which works with the Saudi National Guard.
Al-Turki said the gunman was a 25-year-old old Saudi born in the United States. He said there was nothing in the gunman’s record that shows any affiliation with any extreme movements.
Saudi and US officials earlier said the suspect opened fire on the car of the two Americans at a gas station near King Fahd Stadium in the eastern part of Riyadh on Tuesday afternoon. One of the victims died while the second one suffered slight injuries.
Responding police operatives cornered and arrested the suspect, Riyadh police spokesman Col. Fawaz Al-Maiman said.
A statement released by the Riyadh police also confirmed the death of one American and said another was “lightly injured” in the attack.
Johann Schmonsees, spokesman of the US Embassy in Riyadh, confirmed that the two shooting victims are employees from Vinnell Arabia.
“We are in close contact with the Saudi government as we continue to gather details about the shooting and motive,” he said.
He added: “Our embassy is issuing a security message to US citizens to advise them on the situation and any safety precautions they should take.”
He said the security advisory would be used to communicate information about personal security threats of a general or systemic nature, such as crime trends, demonstrations, peaceful actions intended to disrupt normal activity, or localized events not likely to affect large numbers of US citizens.
Police and US Embassy officials did not release the names of the shooting victims.
Vinnell Arabia, which is partly owned by US-based Northup Grumman Corp., has helped to train Saudi National Guard troops since 1975. It says it has more than 1,250 employees, some of whom are former US soldiers. More than half of the employees are Saudis, the company says on its website.
According to reports, Vinnell Arabia employees have been attacked in the Kingdom before, most notably the May 2003 truck bombing at its compound in Riyadh that killed 10 Americans and three Filipino workers.