Doctor: No more fatalities expected in Ft. Hood shooting

Investigators are focusing on the service and medical history of the Fort Hood shooter, who, according to CBS News sources, is Army Spc. Ivan Lopez, 34. Military officials have not confirmed that name, saying the soldier's family had not been notified.

Print
Email
|

by Associated Press, KVUE and KENS Staff

kgw.com

Posted on April 3, 2014 at 4:14 PM

TEMPLE, Texas -- Three people are still in critical condition after an Iraq War veteran opened fire on the Fort Hood military base Wednesday, leaving four people dead and 16 injured. But doctors said Thursday they don't expect any more fatalities.

Nine people are recovering at Scott & White Memorial Hospital in Temple. It's the closest trauma center to the post, about 30 miles away.

The hospital said Thursday that three people were in critical condition with spinal, abdomen and neck injuries. Two people were in fair condition. Four were released Thursday.

More: Three people in critical condition following Fort Hood shooting

The patients include eight men and one woman. Their ages range from early 20s to mid-40s. Most of the patients have gunshot wounds or injuries from shrapnel debris. A man and a woman have already undergone surgery, but Dr. Matt Davis said they will likely have more.

Within hours of the attack, investigators started looking into whether suspect Ivan Lopez's combat experience had caused lingering psychological trauma. Fort Hood's senior officer, Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, said the gunman had sought help for depression, anxiety and other problems.

Among the possibilities investigators planned to explore was whether a fight or argument on the base triggered the attack.

"We have to find all those witnesses, the witnesses to every one of those shootings, and find out what his actions were, and what was said to the victims," said a federal law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity, because he was not authorized to discuss the case by name.

The official said authorities would begin by speaking with Lopez's wife, and expected to search his home and any computers he owned.

Photos emerge of Ft. Hood shooting suspect

Lopez apparently walked into a building Wednesday afternoon and began firing a .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol. He then got into a vehicle and continued firing before entering another building, but he was eventually confronted by military police in a parking lot, according to Milley, senior officer on the base.

As he came within 20 feet of an officer, the gunman put his hands up but then reached under his jacket and pulled out his gun. The officer drew her own weapon, and the suspect put his gun to his head and pulled the trigger a final time, Milley said.

The gunman, who served in Iraq for four months in 2011, had been undergoing an assessment before the attack to determine if he had post-traumatic stress disorder, Milley said.

He arrived at Fort Hood in February from another base in Texas. He was taking medication, and there were reports that he had complained after returning from Iraq about suffering a traumatic brain injury, Milley said. The commander did not elaborate.

The gunman was never wounded in action, according to military records, and there was no indication the attack was related to terrorism, Milley said. His weapon had been recently purchased in the local area and was not registered to be on the base, Milley said.

Lopez was from the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico and joined the island's National Guard in 1999. He went on a peace and security mission to Egypt's Sinai Peninsula in the mid-2000s, and left the National Guard in 2010 to join the U.S. Army, said Lt. Col. Ruth Diaz, spokeswoman for the Puerto Rico National Guard.

Wednesday's attack immediately revived memories of the 2009 shooting rampage on Fort Hood, the deadliest attack on a domestic military installation in U.S. history. Thirteen people were killed and more than 30 were wounded.

Interactive: Fort Hood shootings

President Barack Obama vowed a complete investigation. In a hastily arranged statement while in Chicago, Obama reflected on the sacrifices Fort Hood troops have made -- including enduring multiple tours to Iraq and Afghanistan.

"They serve with valor. They serve with distinction, and when they're at their home base, they need to feel safe," Obama said Wednesday. "We don't yet know what happened tonight, but obviously that sense of safety has been broken once again."

Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan was convicted last year for the November 2009 mass shooting at Fort Hood. According to trial testimony, he walked into a crowded building, shouted "Allahu Akbar!" -- Arabic for "God is great!" -- and opened fire. The rampage ended when Hasan was shot in the back by base police officers.

Hasan, now paralyzed from the waist down, is on death row at the military prison at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. He has said he acted to protect Islamic insurgents abroad from American aggression.

After that shooting, the military tightened base security nationwide. That included issuing security personnel long-barreled weapons, adding an insider-attack scenario to their training, and strengthening ties to local law enforcement. The military also joined an FBI intelligence-sharing program aimed at identifying terror threats.

In September, a former Navy man opened fire at the Washington Navy Yard, leaving 13 people dead, including the gunman. After that shooting, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered the Pentagon to review security at all U.S. defense installations worldwide and examine the granting of security clearances that allow access to them.

Asked Wednesday about security improvements in the wake of the shootings, Hagel said: "Obviously when we have these kinds of tragedies on our bases, something's not working."

Related: Soldier sentenced to death for 2009 Ft. Hood shooting

Print
Email
|