US soldier kills 3, wounds 16 at Fort Hood Army base

2014-04-03 08:30

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Fort Hood – A US soldier with mental health issues shot dead three people and injured at least 16 before taking his own life at an army base in Fort Hood, Texas, the site of another deadly shooting in 2009.

The soldier, who was being treated for depression and anxiety, went to two buildings on the base yesterday and opened fire before he was confronted by military police, Fort Hood commanding officer Mark Milley said.

The gunman, whose motive remains unknown, then shot himself in the head with a .45-calibre pistol, he said.

“At this time there is no indication that this incident is related to terrorism,” Milley told a news conference.

The rampage is the third shooting at a military base in the US in about six months. It comes amid a broader national debate over the extent of gun control regulations after a series of shootings in public places, such as schools and malls.

Security officials said preliminary information identified the gunman as Ivan Lopez, but Milley declined to identify the shooter, who is married, until his family had been notified.

The suspect’s wife was cooperating with law enforcement, an FBI official said, according to CNN.

The shooter had served for four months in Iraq in 2011, Milley said, and was also undergoing evaluation for post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Scott & White Hospital in Temple, Texas, where some of the wounded were taken, said nine patients were in intensive care and three were in a critical condition. Other victims were taken to Fort Hood’s Carl R Darnall Army Medical Center, close to where the shooting occurred.

US President Barack Obama said he was “heartbroken” that another shooting had occurred at the Fort Hood army base.

“We are going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened,” Obama said. “We’re heartbroken that something like this might have happened again.”

The latest shooting at Fort Hood is throwing a spotlight on the US military’s so-far frustrated efforts to secure its bases against potential shooters, who increasingly appear to see the facilities as attractive targets.

The shooting started at about 4pm local time and put Fort Hood on immediate lockdown.

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.

When confronted by a female military police officer, he killed himself with his semiautomatic weapon in the parking lot.

“He was approaching her at about 20 feet [6m]. 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 he put the weapon to his head,” Milley said.

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