At least three people were killed and 16 injured by a gunman, who later turned the weapon on himself, in the second major shooting on the Army base in Texas since 2009. "We're heartbroken something like this might have happened again," Obama said
Updated: April 3, 2014, 3:50 a.m. E.T.
At least four people were killed on Wednesday in a shooting at the Fort Hood Army base in Texas, including the gunman, officials said. It was the second deadly shooting at the base in the past five years.
At least 16 people were injured, some critically. The gunman died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound and had been suffering from depression and anxiety, Lieutenant General Mark Milley told reporters. All of the victims were military personnel, Milley said. The gunman, whom House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul identified as 34-year-old Army Spc. Ivan Lopez, was carrying one weapon, a .45-caliber Smith & Wesson. The shooting was not related to terrorism, Milley said.
Lopez was identified as an Iraq war veteran, but military officials said the alleged gunman did not see combat during his four-month deployment. Even so, he had severe psychological problems. “He was undergoing psychiatric treatment for depression, anxiety and a variety of other psychological illnesses,” Milley said. “He was on medication.”
President Barack Obama was following the situation closely, the White House said. Obama convened a conference call with top military and law-enforcement officials late on Wednesday night from Air Force One.
“I want to just assure all of us we are going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened,” Obama told reporters. “We’re heartbroken something like this might have happened again.”
Early Thursday morning, three victims were still in critical condition, CNN reports.
The shooting started at about 5 p.m. local time, officials said, and Fort Hood had issued a shelter-in-place order for the base. All-clear sirens sounded on the base late on Wednesday night as the lockdown was lifted hours after the shooting, the Associated Press reports. The shooting took place at two neighboring buildings and lasted 10 to 15 minutes, Milley said. Multiple law-enforcement agencies were on the scene as victims were being transported to area hospitals.
A precautionary evacuation order had also been issued for Central Texas College, near Fort Hood.
Dr. Harry Papaconstantinou of Scott & White Memorial Hospital said the hospital was treating patients for “a variety of injuries … ranging from gunshot wounds that involve extremities, abdomen, chest and neck.” In a televised news conference on Wednesday evening, he said four were being treated currently and two more were on the way.
Fort Hood is home to more than 50,000 active-duty troops, making it the largest active military post in the U.S. It was the site of a mass shooting in 2009, when Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan killed 13 people and injured more than 30.
“When we have these kinds of tragedies on our bases, something’s not working,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said during a visit to Hawaii. “We will continue to address the issue. Anytime you lose your people to these kinds of tragedies, it’s an issue, it’s a problem.”
— With reporting by Zeke J Miller, Mark Thompson and David Stout