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Home » News » Crime

April 02. 2014 11:12PM

UPDATE: Soldier who killed 3 at Fort Hood was under psychiatric care


Luci Hamlin and her husband, Spc. Timothy Hamlin, wait to get back to their home on the base following a shooting incident at Fort Hood, Texas, on Wednesday. (Deborah Cannon/Austin American-Statesman/MCT)

UPDATE: The commander of the Fort Hood Army base in Texas on Thursday identified the soldier suspected of shooting dead three people and wounding 16 on Wednesday as Ivan Lopez, 34, and said he was originally from Puerto Rico.

Lieutenant General Mark Milley told reporters that Lopez's medical history indicated he was in an unstable psychological condition and there was a strong indication he had been in an altercation with another soldier prior to the shooting.

But he said there was no indication the shooter, who committed suicide by shooting himself in the head, had been targeting specific people.
 
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FORT HOOD, Texas - The soldier suspected of gunning down three people before killing himself at the Fort Hood Army base in Texas was under psychiatric care but showed no signs of violence or suicidal tendencies, the secretary of the U.S. Army said Thursday.

There was no motive given for the incident, which also left 16 wounded, although officials have so far ruled out terrorism in the second mass shooting at the base in five years. NBC was reporting Thursday morning that nine of those wounded are still hospitalized, with three in critical condition.

The gunman, who had been treated for depression and anxiety, was yet to be officially named but security officials said preliminary information identified the gunman as Ivan Lopez.

U.S. Army Secretary John McHugh said the soldier, who joined the service in 2008, had served two tours of duty abroad, including four months in Iraq in 2011. He had no direct involvement in combat and suffered no wounds.

"He was undergoing a variety of treatment and diagnoses for mental health conditions, ranging from depression to anxiety to some sleep disturbance. He was prescribed a number of drugs to address those, including Ambien," McHugh told a U.S. Senate committee hearing.

"The background checks we have done thus far show no involvement with extremist organizations of any kind," he said.

McHugh said the soldier and his wife were from Puerto Rico and that he had served in the Puerto Rican national guard before joining the U.S. Army.

The suspect's wife was cooperating with law enforcement officers, a Federal Bureau of Investigation official said, according to CNN.

In a news conference late on Wednesday, Fort Hood commanding officer Lieutenant General Mark Milley said the shooter was undergoing evaluation for post-traumatic stress disorder.

The shooter had "self-reported" a traumatic brain injury after returning from Iraq but was never wounded in action, Milley said. He arrived in Fort Hood in February from another military installation.

At about 4 p.m. local time on Wednesday, the soldier went to two buildings on the base and opened fire before he was confronted by military police, Milley said.

The gunman then shot himself in the head with a .45-caliber pistol. Milley said law enforcement was looking into reports of an argument at the base ahead of the shooting.


The rampage is the third shooting at a military base in the United States in about six months that, along with a series of shootings in schools and malls, has sparked a national debate over gun-control regulations.

The Scott & White Hospital in Temple, Texas, where some of the wounded were taken, said nine patients were in intensive care, of which three were in critical condition and six were stable.

U.S. President Barack Obama said he was "heartbroken" another shooting had occurred, and that the incident "reopens the pain of what happened at Fort Hood five years ago."

"We are going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened," Obama said.

The incident highlights the U.S. military's so-far frustrated efforts to secure its bases from potential shooters, who increasingly appear to target the facilities.

Milley said the shooter walked into one of the unit buildings, opened fire, then got into a vehicle and fired from there. He then went into another building and opened fire again, until he was engaged by Fort Hood law enforcement officers.

When confronted by a female military police officer, he shot himself with his semi-automatic weapon in the parking lot.

"He was approaching her at about 20 feet. He put his hands up, then reached under his jacket, pulled out the (.45) and she pulled out her weapon and then she engaged, and he then put the weapon to his head," Milley said.

One of the buildings housed medical brigade day-to-day operations and the other, nearby, served the administration of the transportation battalion.

As soon as the shooting broke out, the base went on lockdown. Police secured the base perimeter, emergency vehicles rushed to the scene, helicopters circled Fort Hood and officers went from building to building searching for the shooter.

Fort Hood, a base from which soldiers prepare to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan, had overhauled its security to better deal with potential "insider threats" after a 2009 rampage by an Army psychiatrist who shot dead 13 people and wounded 32 others.

In September, a gunman opened fire at the Washington Navy Yard, killing 12 and wounding four before being killed by police. Last month, a civilian shot dead a sailor aboard a ship at a U.S. Navy base in Norfolk, Virginia.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered steps to improve Pentagon security after reviews found the Navy Yard shooting could have been averted if the gunman's mental health had been properly handled.
Previous stories follow:
FORT HOOD, Texas - A U.S. soldier shot dead three people and injured at least 16 on Wednesday before taking his own life at an Army base in Fort Hood, Texas, the site of another deadly rampage in 2009, U.S. officials said.

The soldier, who was being treated for mental health problems, drove to two buildings on the base and opened fire before he was stopped by military police, in an incident that lasted between 15 and 20 minutes, Fort Hood commanding officer Mark Milley said.

The gunman then shot himself in the head with a .45-caliber pistol, Milley added.

Security officials said preliminary information identified the gunman as Ivan Lopez, and the shooting was not linked to terrorism.

Milley declined to identify the shooter until his family was notified. All the wounded and killed were military personnel.

U.S. President Barack Obama said he was "heartbroken" that another shooting had occurred at the Fort Hood Army base and described the situation there as fluid.

"We are going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened," Obama told reporters in Chicago, where he is traveling for Democratic fundraisers. "We're heartbroken that something like this might have happened again."

The shooting, the third such incident at a military base in the United States in about six months, started about 4 p.m. local time when a soldier assigned to 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) fired shots as individuals in the 1st Medical Brigade area of Fort Hood, according to Milley who gave an update on the shooting Wednesday at 9:40 p.m.

Fort Hood immediately was placed on lockdown as the shooting began.

Police secured its perimeter, emergency vehicles rushed to the scene and helicopters circled the base as officers went from building to building searching for the shooter. The injured were treated at the scene and then transported to area hospitals.

A base announcement told people to lock their windows and doors, while scores of police cars and ambulances arrived at the scene, TV images showed.

"I'm safe. I'm locked down. I'm not allowed to use my cell phone. I'm going to be here a long time, I can tell you that," said one base officer who asked not to be named.

Central Texas College, which has a Fort Hood campus, ordered an immediate evacuation of all students and staff, and canceled classes.

The Scott and White Hospital in Temple, Texas, said it received four patients, ranging from critical condition to stable with single and multiple gunshot wounds. Two more were arriving soon, hospital officials said at a news conference.

Family notifications were ongoing Wednesday night. The names of the deceased will not be released until 24 hours after the next of kin are notified, according to Milley. Family members can call the Family Assistance Center Hotline at 254-288-7570 or 866-836-2751.

Chaplains have set up family counseling centers on and off post. Locations are the Spirit of Fort Hood Chapel and Scott & White Hospital.

The Red Cross Joint Assistance Center is established at the Killeen Community Center, 2201 E. Veterans Memorial Blvd., Killeen, Texas. Monetary donations made be submitted online at www.redcross.org .

"It's a terrible tragedy. We know that. We know there are casualties, both people killed and injured," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told a news conference in Honolulu, where he was meeting with Asian defense ministers.

String of recent shootings at bases.

The violence echoed the rampage of 2009, when a former Army psychiatrist shot dead 13 people and wounded 32 others in a shooting spree at Fort Hood, a base from where soldiers prepare to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Major Nidal Hasan shouted "Allahu Akbar," or "God is greatest" in Arabic, during the attack and later said he wanted to be a martyr. He was convicted and faces death by lethal injection.

In February, the U.S. military demolished the building where Hasan went on a shooting spree. It will plant trees, install a gazebo and mark the site with a remembrance plaque for the victims, the base said.

In September, a gunman opened fire at the Washington Navy Yard, killing 12 and wounding four before being slain by police. Last month, a civilian shot dead a sailor aboard a ship at a U.S. Navy base in Norfolk, Virginia

Hagel, pressed about the military's so-far frustrated effort to secure its bases from potential shooters, said the latest incident at Fort Hood showed that there were problems that still needed to be addressed.

"When we have these kinds of tragedies on our bases, something's not worked. So we'll identify it, we'll get the facts, and we'll fix it," Hagel told reporters, standing on the flight deck of the USS Anchorage, an amphibious ship, in Hawaii.

Just last month, he ordered steps to be improve Pentagon security after reviews found the Navy Yard shooting could have been averted if the gunman's mental health had been properly handled.

He said at the time: "The reviews identified troubling gaps in DoD's (Defense Department's) ability to detect, prevent and respond to instances where someone working for us, a government employee, member of our military, or a contractor, decides to inflict harm on this institution and its people."



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FORT HOOD, Texas - A U.S. soldier shot dead three people and injured at least 16 on Wednesday before taking his own life at an Army base in Fort Hood, Texas, the site of another deadly rampage in 2009, U.S. officials said.

The soldier, who was being treated for mental health problems, drove to two buildings on the base and opened fire before he was stopped by military police, in an incident that lasted between 15 and 20 minutes, Fort Hood commanding officer Mark Milley said.

The gunman then shot himself in the head with a .45-caliber pistol, Milley added.

Security officials said preliminary information identified the gunman as Ivan Lopez, and the shooting was not linked to terrorism.

Milley declined to identify the shooter until his family was notified. All the wounded and killed were military personnel.

U.S. President Barack Obama said he was "heartbroken" that another shooting had occurred at the Fort Hood Army base and described the situation there as fluid.

"We are going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened," Obama told reporters in Chicago, where he is traveling for Democratic fundraisers. "We're heartbroken that something like this might have happened again."

The shooting, the third such incident at a military base in the United States in about six months, started at 4:30 p.m. local time and put Fort Hood on immediate lockdown.

Police secured its perimeter, emergency vehicles rushed to the scene and helicopters circled the base as officers went from building to building searching for the shooter.

A base announcement told people to lock their windows and doors, while scores of police cars and ambulances arrived at the scene, TV images showed.

"I'm safe. I'm locked down. I'm not allowed to use my cell phone. I'm going to be here a long time, I can tell you that," said one base officer who asked not to be named.

Central Texas College, which has a Fort Hood campus, ordered an immediate evacuation of all students and staff, and canceled classes.

The Scott and White Hospital in Temple, Texas, said it had received four patients, ranging from critical condition to stable with single and multiple gunshot wounds. Two more were arriving soon, hospital officials told a news conference.

"It's a terrible tragedy. We know that. We know there are casualties, both people killed and injured," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told a news conference in Honolulu, where he was meeting with Asian defense ministers.

String of recent shootings at bases


The violence echoed the rampage of 2009, when a former Army psychiatrist shot dead 13 people and wounded 32 others in a shooting spree at Fort Hood, a base from where soldiers prepare to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Major Nidal Hasan shouted "Allahu Akbar," or "God is greatest" in Arabic, during the attack and later said he wanted to be a martyr. He was convicted and faces death by lethal injection.

In February, the U.S. military demolished the building where Hasan went on a shooting spree. It will plant trees, install a gazebo and mark the site with a remembrance plaque for the victims, the base said.

In September, a gunman opened fire at the Washington Navy Yard, killing 12 and wounding four before being slain by police. Last month, a civilian shot dead a sailor aboard a ship at a U.S. Navy base in Norfolk, Virginia.

Hagel, pressed about the military's so-far frustrated effort to secure its bases from potential shooters, said the latest incident at Fort Hood showed that there were problems that still needed to be addressed.

"When we have these kinds of tragedies on our bases, something's not worked. So we'll identify it, we'll get the facts, and we'll fix it," Hagel told reporters, standing on the flight deck of the USS Anchorage, an amphibious ship, in Hawaii.

Just last month, he ordered steps to be improve Pentagon security after reviews found the Navy Yard shooting could have been averted if the gunman's mental health had been properly handled.

He said at the time: "The reviews identified troubling gaps in DoD's (Defense Department's) ability to detect, prevent and respond to instances where someone working for us, a government employee, member of our military, or a contractor, decides to inflict harm on this institution and its people."


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