FORT HOOD — Two local congressmen expressed condolences Saturday and commended the bravery of some of the men and women involved in Wednesday’s shooting that left four dead and 16 wounded.
U.S. Reps. John Carter, R-Round Rock, and Roger Williams, R-Austin, took turns answering questions with a cold, grey afternoon sky looming behind them during a news conference outside the main gate.
“I think that what we saw today and heard from the victims was a tremendous amount of bravery, a tremendous amount of being able to think through a severe situation. Their wound reports are very good and they’re ready frankly to get back to their unit, their friends and fellow soldiers,” Williams said.
Both officials said they spoke with several victims and were allowed to visit two of the three sites on post under investigation.
“(Maj. Patrick Miller) described how there was a ‘pop, pop’ of gunfire and he didn’t realize he was hit,” Carter said, describing how Miller staunched his own wounds so he would be able to help others.
Miller called 911 and saved others on the scene, Williams said. A western New York native, Miller underwent surgery Wednesday night for a gunshot wound to the abdomen.
“I’m blaming society for the problem,” Carter said, referring to the recent shooting. “The man who wears your uniform is your battle buddy and you’re supposed to be able to trust him. When you get shot by one of your own, it’s a punch in the kidneys for every soldier.”
Williams said issues of mental health and concealed handgun carrying were topics that needed to be discussed in the future.
Fort Hood policy remains the same: No concealed guns may be carried on post.
Both congressmen said they were not informed about the details of Spc. Ivan A. Lopez’s denied leave request. The alleged request was submitted so Lopez could deal with his mother’s death in Puerto Rico. The request was allegedly denied shortly before the shooting and officials said Friday an argument about it may have led to the incident.
“I’m not saying (another shooting is) unavoidable or likely, what I’m saying is crime breeds crime,” Carter said, elaborating on the likelihood of possible future shootings. “... There are people who have something wrong with them, and they are drawn to places where there has been publicity, where there has been additional mass shootings, so it’s not unusual that we’ve heard Fort Hood come up several times because basically (2009 Fort Hood gunman Nidal) Hasan planted the seed.”