Military installations typically do not disclose security arrangements.
The Navy base employs more than 16,000 military personnel and 7,400 civilians.
CNN and the New York Times are reporting that the suspect at Pensacola is a Saudi military trainee.
It was the second shooting at a U.S. Navy installation in less than a week. On Wednesday, a U.S. Navy sailor at Pearl Harbor killed two people and wounded a third.
“Our entire Navy and Marine Corps team is struck and deeply saddened by the attacks within our own naval family over the past several days,” Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said in a statement. “These acts are crimes against all of us. Our prayers are with the families of the fallen and with the wounded. It is our solemn duty to find the causes of such tragic loss and ceaselessly work together to prevent them.”
In the wake of Sept. 11, 2011, the Pensacola base had a reputation for being an unusually open base. But the Navy Times newspaper reported that changed nearly four years ago.
That was when the base — home to the popular Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron — enacted “strict new, permanent security measures intended to separate the nearly 1 million tourists who visit the base each year from the thousands of sailors, Marines and other military employees who work on the base,” the Navy Times reported in February 2016.
The changes required visitors to show identification and carry a visitor pass issued in their name, the newspaper reported. The pass had to be presented to security officials, and anyone visiting military buildings or training areas had to be be escorted.
“Thousands of tourists enter the base several mornings each week from March through October to watch the Blue Angels practice,” the Navy Times said in 2016. “The practices are often followed by pilot autograph signings inside the National Museum of Naval Aviation.”