The unthinkable has happened at Fort Hood, Texas, the site of a 2009 terror massacre that killed 14, with another mass shooting leaving four dead and 16 people injured Wednesday at 4:25 p.m. CDT at the U.S. Army’s largest military installation.
The shooter, identified as 34-year-old Ivan Lopez, is among the dead. Lopez reportedly died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound and had been wearing an Army combat uniform at the time of the attack. Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, III Corps commander at Fort Hood, said the shooter was a soldier who was under evaluation for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Six injured soldiers are being treated at Scott & White Memorial Hospital in Temple, a city about 20 minutes outside Fort Hood. According to hospital officials, the victims have a variety of injuries, including multiple gunshot wounds to the neck and abdomen.
The FBI and ATF responded to the scene of the shooting. While it was happening, soldiers began jumping over fences to escape the attacker.
Fort Hood, a sprawling Army post next to Killeen, Texas, was under a shelter-in-place order most of the evening. Sirens sounded across the post, warning, “Close your windows! Seek shelter immediately!”
Master Sgt. C.J. Grisham, who spoke exclusively to WND as he was attempting to leave Fort Hood, expressed frustration at the military’s gun-free policy for soldiers.
He told WND, “What really bothers me is that the very people who are trained to take out armed attackers are left defenseless to do just that, which is to take out an armed attacker.”
Grisham, who also confirmed that he’s the founder and president of Open Carry Texas, tweeted earlier in the day, “This reminds me of Afghanistan: People shooting at us and we can’t return fire.”
He said, “As you may know, Fort Hood is a gun-free zone and soldiers are unable to defend themselves. Someone tell that to the shooter please.”
For several hours after the shooting, soldiers sat in traffic jams, stuck in their cars as they tried to leave through the crowded gates of the post.
President Obama issued a statement Wednesday evening saying, “Obviously we’re following it closely. The situation is fluid right now. But my national security team is in close contact with not just the Defense Department but the FBI. They are working with folks on the ground to determine exactly what happened to make sure that everybody is secure. And I want to just assure all of us that we’re going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.
“Any shooting is troubling. Obviously this reopens the pain of what happened at Fort Hood five years ago. … We’re heartbroken that something like this might have happened again. … The folks there have sacrificed so much on behalf of our freedom. Many of the people there have been on multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. 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. And we’re going to have to find out exactly what happened.”
Washington Examiner writer Charlie Spiering tweeted, “After addressing Fort Hood shooting, Obama is going to another Chicago fundraiser – abt 55 supporters in attendance, contributing up to $10k.”
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called the event a “terrible tragedy.”
Just 24 hours prior to the shooting, Fox News had reported, “The FBI is searching for a recent Army recruit believed to be planning a ‘Fort Hood-inspired jihad against U.S. soldiers.'” It’s still unclear whether that threat is related to the Wednesday attack.
In 2009, Army psychiatrist and Islamist Maj. Nidal Hasan, who called himself a “mujahedeen,” or holy warrior, shot 43 people. The Obama administration labeled it “workplace violence,” not terrorism. Hasan was convicted and received the death penalty in August 2013.
Authorities have already concluded, as they did in the Hasan massacre, that the April 2 attack is not related to terrorism.
Hasan had been on federal officials’ radar screen for at least six months prior to the shooting over postings he made on the Internet. He likened a suicide bomber who kills women and children to a soldier who throws himself on a grenade to give his life in a “noble cause.”
Intelligence officials also intercepted at least 18 emails between Hasan and the radical American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. Hasan told al-Awlaki in one of the emails, “I can’t wait to join you” in paradise. He also asked al-Awlaki whether it was appropriate to kill innocents in a suicide attack, when jihad was acceptable and how to transfer funds without attracting government notice.
As WND reported, nearly four years after Hasan’s brutal attack, he received free helicopter rides from the local jail nearly every day, lived in a private room built to accommodate his medical needs, wore a beard against Army regulations, traveled with his own security detail, had received numerous trial delays and collected a full salary of about $80,000 a year – all while many of his victims said they’ve been forgotten.