Another Rampage at Fort Hood Leaves Four Dead

An Iraq veteran who was being treated for depression and anxiety opened fire at the Fort Hood Army base in Texas, killing three military personnel and injuring 16 more before taking his own life in a tragic and jarring echo of the deadly rampage at the same base five years ago. The shooter, identified in ...

Drew Anthony Smith/Getty
Drew Anthony Smith/Getty
Drew Anthony Smith/Getty

An Iraq veteran who was being treated for depression and anxiety opened fire at the Fort Hood Army base in Texas, killing three military personnel and injuring 16 more before taking his own life in a tragic and jarring echo of the deadly rampage at the same base five years ago.

The shooter, identified in media reports as Specialist Ivan Lopez, used a semi-automatic pistol in an area of the sprawling base where medical and motor transport personnel work. When the shooting stopped, Lopez was confronted in a parking lot by a female military police officer, according to Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, the senior commander at the base.

An Iraq veteran who was being treated for depression and anxiety opened fire at the Fort Hood Army base in Texas, killing three military personnel and injuring 16 more before taking his own life in a tragic and jarring echo of the deadly rampage at the same base five years ago.

The shooter, identified in media reports as Specialist Ivan Lopez, used a semi-automatic pistol in an area of the sprawling base where medical and motor transport personnel work. When the shooting stopped, Lopez was confronted in a parking lot by a female military police officer, according to Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, the senior commander at the base.

As the officer attempted to "engage" the shooter, Milley said, Lopez pulled a pistol out from underneath his jacket and shot himself in the head. He had been transferred to Fort Hood from another Army installation, also in Texas, in February, Milley said.

Lopez, who had a wife and children living in the area, had not been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, the signature invisible wound of the long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But he had "self-reported" a traumatic brain injury and was being treated for a number of mental illnesses, including depression and anxiety, Milley said. The soldier was a combat veteran, he said.

Fort Hood officials said they could not rule out that the shooting was an act of terrorism, but said there was not yet any indication that it was. Base officials had contacted the Army installation where Lopez had previously served to try learn more about the shooter and his background.

"Obviously we are digging deep into his background, any criminal history, psychiatric history, his experiences in combat, all the things you’d expect us to do are being done right now," Milley said at a press conference outside the base.

Wednesday’s assault wasn’t the first mass shooting at the base in recent years. In November 2009, Maj. Nidal Hasan shot and killed 13 people and wounded 32 others in what remains the worst mass murder at a military installation in American history. Last year, he was sentenced to death for the killings. He awaits execution at a facility at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

The new shooting reopened wounds within Fort Hood and across the military.

"Events in the past have taught us many things here at Fort Hood: we know the community is strong, we know the community is resilient, and we know the soldiers and the civilians and the families of this fort who have served so bravely in combat for the last 13 years in both Iraq and Afghanistan are strong and we will get through this," Milley said.

There were few other details available about the shooting as military, federal investigators and local law enforcement all converged on the base shortly after the shooting occurred, at around 4 PM local time.

On Wednesday, President Obama pledged to get to the bottom of what took place at Fort Hood. "We’re heartbroken something like this might have happened again," Obama said. "Obviously this reopens the pain of what happened at Fort Hood five years ago."

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, traveling to Asia, called the shooting "a terrible tragedy" for the Fort Hood community, the Defense Department and the nation. "My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families," Hagel said. "And my sympathies go out to this strong and resilient community, which has experienced this kind of senseless violence all too recently."


Gordon Lubold is a national security reporter for Foreign Policy. He is also the author of FP's Situation Report, an e-mailed newsletter that is blasted out to more than 70,000 national security and foreign affairs subscribers each morning that includes the top nat-sec news, breaking news, tidbits, nuggets and what he likes to call "candy." Before arriving at FP, he was a senior advisor at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, where he wrote on national security and foreign policy. Prior to his arrival at USIP, he was a defense reporter for Politico, where he launched the popular Morning Defense early morning blog and tip-sheet. Prior to that, he was the Pentagon and national security correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, and before that he was the Pentagon correspondent for the Army Times chain of newspapers. He has covered conflict in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries in South Asia, and has reported on military matters in sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia and Latin America as well as at American military bases across the country. He has spoken frequently on the sometimes-contentious relationship between the military and the media as a guest on numerous panels. He also appears on radio and television, including on CNN, public radio's Diane Rehm and To the Point, and C-SPAN's Washington Journal. He lives in Alexandria with his wife and two children. Twitter: @glubold

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