RIYADH: A former employee of a US defense contractor shot dead one American colleague and wounded another in the Saudi capital Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) , officials said, in a rare attack on Westerners in the kingdom.
The alleged shooter, Abdulaziz Fahad Abdulaziz Alrashid, 24, “worked at the same company as the victims, and was recently dismissed from his job due to drug related issues,” Riyadh’s embassy in Washington said in a statement.
A United States diplomat identified the gunman as a disgruntled former employee of Vinnell Arabia.
The victims of Tuesday’s petrol station shooting in Riyadh also worked at Vinnell Arabia, the diplomat said, ruling out terrorism as a possible motive for the attack.
Vinnell Arabia provides training for the Saudi Arabian National Guard.
US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed one American was killed and a second was “lightly injured”.
Later Tuesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters in Paris that Washington is “in close contact” with the Saudi government, and “evaluating our security posture,” following the shooting.
“We’re continuing to gather details about the incident,” Kerry told a news conference.
“I can’t speak to the motive at this point, except to say to you that there are some questions about whether it was or wasn’t a disgruntled employee,” he said.
“We’re going to stay in very close touch with the Saudi authorities and make our judgments accordingly with respect to any other personnel,” he said.
Following the attack near King Fahd football stadium, a shootout occurred between the gunman and security forces, a police spokesman said in a statement carried by the official SPA news agency.
A third American escaped unharmed, police said, adding the assailant was wounded and subsequently arrested.
They did not identify the suspect but Riyadh’s embassy in Washington said the suspect, Alrashid, is a dual Saudi-American citizen born in Washington State.