Friday, August 29, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

4 dead in Fort Hood shooting

Lucy Hamlin waits with her husband, Spec. Timothy Hamlin, to reenter the military base at Fort Hood, Texas. Officials say the rampage began as a dispute between two soldiers.
Lucy Hamlin waits with her husband, Spec. Timothy Hamlin, to reenter the military base at Fort Hood, Texas. Officials say the rampage began as a dispute between two soldiers. TAMIR KALIFA / Associated Press
Lucy Hamlin waits with her husband, Spec. Timothy Hamlin, to reenter the military base at Fort Hood, Texas. Officials say the rampage began as a dispute between two soldiers. Gallery: 4 dead in Fort Hood shooting

An Iraq war veteran who was grappling with mental-health issues opened fire at Fort Hood, Texas, in an attack that left four people including the gunman dead and 16 wounded Wednesday afternoon.

The gunfire sent tremors of fear across a sprawling Army base that was the site of one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history five years ago.

Officials identified the gunman as Army Spec. Ivan Lopez, 34, a military truck driver, who was dressed in his standard-issue green camouflage uniform.

The gunman, who served for four months in Iraq in 2011, had been undergoing an assessment to determine whether he had post-traumatic stress disorder, said Lt. Gen. Mark A. Milley, senior officer on the base. There was no indication the attack was related to terrorism, Milley said.

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

Police spent Wednesday night searching Lopez's apartment in Killeen, the city that abuts the base.

Milley said the shooter, who reportedly was married, "had behavioral health and mental health issues." He said the soldier, who self-reported a traumatic brain injury and was taking antidepressants, had been under examination to determine whether he had post-traumatic stress disorder.

Milley said the soldier opened fire with a semiautomatic pistol that was purchased recently but was not authorized to be brought on the base.

The shooting was the third major gun attack at a U.S. military installation in five years. A government contractor went on a shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard in September, leaving 12 people dead. In 2009, Army Maj. Nidal Hasan opened fire on a group of soldiers at Fort Hood preparing to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan, killing 13 people and wounding more than 30.

Brooke Conover, whose husband was on base at the time of Wednesday's shooting, said she found out about it while checking Facebook. She said she called her husband, Staff Sgt. Sean Conover, immediately to make sure he was OK, but he couldn't even tell her exactly what was going on.

"I just want him to come home," said Conover, who moved to Fort Hood with her husband and three daughters two years ago.

President Obama said he was "heartbroken that something like this might have happened again." Speaking during a fund-raising trip to Chicago, he pledged "to get to the bottom of exactly what happened."

Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that many questions remained about the shooting but that a principal initial focus was to support the victims and their families. "This is a community that has faced and overcome crises with resilience and strength," he said in a statement.

Conditions of the injured ranged from stable to "quite critical."

The base was on lockdown for much of the afternoon, with loudspeakers across the facility urging people to shelter in place.

With the exception of military police officers, soldiers on Fort Hood and all other U.S. military installations are not armed or permitted to carry privately owned firearms.

Hasan was convicted of multiple counts of murder last year and sentenced to death. He is on death row at the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

 


This article contains information from the Associated Press and Reuters.

Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Adam Goldman, and Sari Horwitz Washington Post
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