FORT HOOD — A soldier fatally shot three and wounded 16 before taking his own life Wednesday evening in an attack that left the post locked down for about five hours and resurfaced memories from the 2009 shooting that left 13 dead.
The incident began just after 4 p.m. when the gunman, identified by Fort Hood officials as a soldier in the 13th Sustainment Command, opened fire in the 1st Medical Brigade area.
Law enforcement responded within about 15 minutes and engaged the shooter, who died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, officials said.
III Corps and Fort Hood commander Lt. Gen. Mark Milley said the shooter used a .45-caliber Smith and Wesson handgun, which he’d purchased recently. Milley said the soldier, who arrived at Fort Hood in February from another military installation in Texas, suffered from depression anxiety and other mental heath issues and was in the process of getting a diagnosis for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Fort Hood officials did not release the name of the gunman Wednesday night pending notification of next of kin, but a Bell County sheriff’s deputy identified him as 34-year-old Spc. Ivan Lopez.
About 9:30 p.m., Milley said there was no indication the shooting was related to terrorism, but the investigation would leave nothing “off the table.”
“We are not ruling anything out at this time,” he said.
No potential motive was given and Milley said more information would be released as it becomes available. Another news conference is expected today.
By 10:15 p.m. Wednesday, a Scott & White Hospital spokeswoman said eight patients were being treated at the Temple hospital and another was en route. She said seven men and one woman were in the ICU, with three in critical condition and five in serious condition.
“We’ve seen a variety of injuries, ranging from mild and superficial to life threatening,” said Dr. Matt Davis, chief of trauma services at Scott & White Hospital. All of the injuries were a result of the shooting, ranging from shots to the extremities, abdomen, chest and neck. Two of the shooting victims underwent surgery, one is in critical condition. Three of the patients are on ventilators, he said.
The blood center at Scott & White is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. today. A blood drive will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. today at Scott & White West Campus, 5701 Airport Road, Temple, officials said.
Others injured in the shooting were taken to Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood. Conditions of patients at Darnall were not available Wednesday night.
Fort Hood went into a security lockdown shortly after the shooting began. Those trapped on post included children in several Fort Hood schools. Killeen Independent School District officials said students were cared for by staff until the lockdown was lifted about 9 p.m.
Some family members, such as Dianna Simpson, gathered in the parking lot at the visitor’s center while they waited for word from loved ones.
“The (military police) said they really couldn’t tell us anything,” said Simpson, whose husband was on post at the time of the shooting. “I’m a little nervous.”
A Fort Hood resident named Angela, who declined to give her last name, thought the sirens going off Wednesday afternoon were a drill. But when her husband, a military officer working at the 1st Cavalry Division motor pool, called to let her know there was an active shooter, she was scared. She closed windows and locked doors to keep her two children safe inside their home in the Comanche II housing development.
“I’ve never been in a situation like this. I can honestly say it’s the scariest thing we’ve ever dealt with,” she said.
Living at the military post for about a year, Angela said she assumed it would be safe despite the Nov. 5, 2009, shooting that killed 13 people and injured more than 30 others. But now she’s afraid to leave her home.
“Every time you see a soldier now with a gun on post, you’re going to hesitate and wonder why they have that gun and who’s going to die next,” she said. “I don’t get how this could happen again.”
Milley said all of those killed or injured were military service members. Fort Hood officials said the dead would not be identified until 24 hours after next of kin were notified.
“Our focus now is the families of the injured, and the families of those killed,” Milley said. The incident is under investigation by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies.
Herald staff writers Courtney Griffin and Sarah Rafique and Janice Gibbs with FME News Service contributed to this report.
Contact Chris McGuinness at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.