Fort Hood carries on after another rampage

FORT HOOD, Texas (USA TODAY) -- The quiet, professional bearing of guards at this sprawling Army post's main gate provided stark contrast Thursday to the violent rampage hours earlier when a soldier killed three people and wounded 16 others before turning the gun on himself.

The Army said the gunman, identified by Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, as Spc. Ivan Lopez, was an Iraq War veteran who was being evaluated for post-traumatic stress disorder, but had not yet been diagnosed for the illness.

Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, head of the Army's III Corps at the Texas post, said the shooter walked into a building on the post at about 4 p.m. Wednesday and opened fire with a .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol. He then got into a car, fired more shots, went to another building and began shooting.

When a military police officer encountered him and drew her weapon, the shooter fatally shot himself.

The tragedy came less than five years after this same post suffered the worst attack on a domestic U.S. military installation in history. On Nov. 5, 2009, Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan went on a shooting rampage that left 13 dead and 31 wounded.

The Army base, dubbed "The Great Place," is home to two full divisions and 12 other units -- more than 40,000 soldiers. Parts of the nation's largest active-duty armored post resemble any typical suburban neighborhood. Such violence would seem totally out of place, although the streets bear names such as Tank Destroyer Blvd. and Hell on Wheels Avenue.

Although it appears much of Fort Hood was returning to business as usual, all physical training for soldiers was cancelled Thursday. Soldiers were ordered to report to their units at 10 a.m. Chaplains set up family counseling centers at the Spirit of Fort Hood Chapel and nearby Scott & White Hospital.

A soldier watches as the media prepares for a press conference with U.S. Army Gen. Mark Milley about a shooting at the base on April 2 at Fort Hood, Texas. Four people were killed, including the gunman. (Photo: Drew Anthony Smith, Getty Images)View FullscreenNext Slide

Hospital spokeswoman Deontrea Jones said Scott & White had received eight wounded, including seven males and one female. All were in intensive care late Wednesday, three in critical condition and five in serious condition.

Officials did not say what might have motivated the shooter to kill his fellow soldiers and commit suicide. They do not suspect terrorism, but have not ruled it out either.The shooter had a history of mental-health problems, according to Army officials. He was married and "does have family," Milley said.

"We do know that this soldier had behavioral health and mental health issues and was being treated for that," Milley said.

A federal law enforcement official told the Associated Press that investigators will interview the gunman's wife, search his home, and examine whether his combat experience caused lingering psychological trauma.

"We're heartbroken something like this might have happened again,'' President Obama said in Chicago, after being briefed on the events.

A statement from the White House said the Department of Defense with lead the investigation with support from the FBI and state and local law enforcement.

Contributing: William Cummings and John Bacon in McLean, Va.; William Welch in Los Angeles; Yamiche Alcindor in New York; The Associated Press


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