Fort Hood, TX. April 2, 2014- People are left baffled after a soldier opened fire on Wednesday killing 3 people and injuring 16 before turning the gun on himself. The big question is how can this happen again in the very same complex where the 2009 massacre took place?
In 2009 a very similar situation unfolded when Nidal Malik Hasan, a U.S. Army major and psychiatrist, fatally shot 13 people and injured more than 30 others." Hasan was sentenced to die after being found guilty of 13 counts of murder and 32 counts of attempted murder.
Just five short years later on April 2, 2014 four more people are dead and 16 have received moderate to very critical injuries.
Lt. Gen. Mark Milley released a statement to reporters after the shooting on Wednesday saying, "Terrorism was not involved in the tragedy, but no motive has been ruled out." He said that, " Lopez reported suffering from a traumatic brain injury during his Iraq tour, but he was never wounded in combat."
Milley stated that, “We do not know a motive; Lopez suffered from depression and anxiety, as well as other unnamed mental conditions."
It is known now that Lopez "opened fire in a medical brigade building at about 4:30 p.m. local time. It was the same complex where Maj. Nidal Hasan carried out his 2009 bloodbath."
From there he got into a vehicle firing his .45 caliber semi-automatic Smith and Wesson while making way to a transportation pool on the Fort Hood Army base leaving a wake of casualties and injured in his path.
Once confronted by an armed military policewoman Lopez shot himself with his weapon which was found to be unregistered.
Milley said, "It was clearly heroic what she did; She did her job and she did exactly what we would expect from a US military police."'
She has not been identified.
Milley also confirmed Lopez was in fact married and had both served in Iraq and in the Army National Guard in Puerto Rico. He was being treated for anxiety and depression. He arrived on the Fort Hood base in February 2014 after a transfer from another base in Texas which remains unidentified.
Lopez was "assigned to the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) at Fort Hood, which is a logistics and support unit." Though a specialist, he is only a junior in rank. For those who may not understand the ranking procedure that would be just above being a private first class with an equivalent pay as an Army a corporal.
Lopez was not "being transitioned out of the military" because of his mental health, according to Milley. He went on to state that, "Obviously we are digging deep into his background, criminal history."
Fort Hood is home to more than 40,000 soldiers and their families. The base was on lockdown for an extensive time, and one woman even released a home recording in the neighborhood as they were announcing through the streets for residents to take cover.You could also hear a scared child in the background as the alarms sounded.
Fort Hood officials immediately started announcing both over social media and over the base public address system for “all personnel on post to shelter in place” and to "stay away from windows and doors." You could clearly hear this in the home video, and for many that is the point where the reality of the situation became very real. The all clear did not come until after 9 pm.
There were initial reports that a domestic dispute set the officer off on a rampage, but these reports remain unconfirmed. Other reports say that the dispute actually started between soldiers. As of not no motive has been made clear.
President Obama made a statement sating,“We're heartbroken something like this might have happened again; we are going to get to the bottom of what happened.” He referred to the situation as being fluid.
Obama said,“Any shooting is troubling. Obviously this reopened pain of what happened at Fort Hood five years ago.” “We know these families;We know their incredible service to our country and the sacrifices that they make. Obviously our thoughts and prayers . . . are with the entire community.”
Obama went on saying that, “They serve with valor; they serve with distinction. And when they're at their home base they need to feel safe; We don't yet know what happened tonight, but obviously that sense of safety has been broken once again.”
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called the shooting “a terrible tragedy.” When he was quizzed about what improvements were implemented after the 2009 massacre and how this could have happened again, he only replied, "Obviously, when we have these kinds of tragedies on our bases, something’s not working.”
At least 4 of the wounded are in very serious condition having received gun shots to the neck, head abdomen and cheek. Several were transported to a nearby hospital in Temple, Texas, Baylor Scott & White Memorial Health Central Texas hospital.
Dr. Harry Papaconstantinou said that some of those injured were having to have the help of ventilators so that they could breathe.
At least 8 people are in ICU, and according to Dr. Glen Couchman, they are in a classification range of “stable to quite critical.”
Ivan Lopez's wife who feared her husband was a victim was devastated to find out he was the shooter. They have a small child at home. She is being supported emotionally by friends on the base and also by family.
One soldiers wife has stated that she "don't feel safe."
The names of Lopez's victims have not yet been released.