Wrestling coach among those wounded at Pensacola NAS

A high school wrestling coach was among those wounded in the mass shooting at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida on Friday.

Ryan Blackwell is a staff member at Gulf Breeze High School, located near the Pensacola NAS in Florida's western Panhandle, as well as coach of the Gulf Breeze Wrestling Club. In addition, the 27-year-old Blackwell is an active duty member of the U.S. Navy.

Here is the message the City of Gulf Breeze posted on its Facebook page Friday:

"Gulf Breeze City Hall sends prayers and support for the recovery of Gulf Breeze High School assistant wrestling coach Ryan Blackwell. Coach Ryan is active duty Navy and was shot three times this morning in the senseless act of violence which killed three military people, injuring eleven in the Aviation Building. Coach Ryan's thoughts were with his team before going into surgery, as Coach Ryan called head wrestling coach Dave Daily of Gulf Breeze Wrestling Club to tell him he won't make this weekend's wrestling tournament. Coach Ryan is in stable condition…"

Blackwell was taken to Baptist Hospital, along with seven others who were also wounded in the shooting.

According to WITN-TV, the NBC affiliate in Greenville, N.C., Ryan Blackwell is an Eastern North Carolina native who attended Croatan High School in Carteret County. Blackwell made history as a senior by becoming just the second wrestler in county history to win two North Carolina state championships. He later wrestled for the NCAA Division II program at the University of North Carolina Pembroke at 141 pounds.

Second Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, a member of the Saudi Air Force who was training to become a pilot, has been identified as the gunman. He reportedly used a handgun to fatally shoot three people and wound eight others on Friday morning in a classroom building at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola. The gunman was reportedly shot and killed by a sheriff's deputy.

The base employs more than 16,000 military personnel and 7,400 civilians.


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