Iraq Vet with Post-Traumatic Stress Kills Three, Wounds Sixteen at Fort Hood
shooting spree at Fort Hood appears to be a related to post-traumatic stress.
NYT (“ Iraq Veteran at Fort Hood Kills 3 and Himself“):
A soldier who was being evaluated for post-traumatic stress disorder opened fire at Fort Hood on Wednesday, killing three people and wounding 16 before killing himself, the authorities said. The shooting set off a huge police response and shut down the sprawling Army base, the same facility where a deadly rampage by an officer resulted in 13 deaths in 2009.
Fort Hood’s commanding general said the gunman, an Army specialist who had served in Iraq and was being treated for behavioral and mental health issues, had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The commander, Lt. Gen. Mark A. Milley, told reporters that the soldier’s motive remained unclear, but that the shooting did not appear to be related to terrorism.
A Pentagon official said the suspected gunman was Army Specialist Ivan Lopez. General Milley, while not identifying Specialist Lopez by name, said the gunman had served four months in Iraq in 2011 and was being evaluated for post-traumatic stress disorder, but had not yet been diagnosed with the condition. There were indications that he had self-reported a
traumatic brain injury when he returned from Iraq, General Milley said.
The episode appeared to have unfolded around 4:30 p.m. at a medical support building. Witnesses described chaos as gunshots rang out.
The base was put on lockdown, as Army officials took to Twitter and Facebook to alert soldiers there to shelter in place and stay away from windows. The injured were transported to Fort Hood’s medical center and other area hospitals.
The authorities said Specialist Lopez appeared to have walked into one building, then gone inside a vehicle and fired shots from the vehicle with a .45-caliber Smith & Wesson semiautomatic pistol that had recently been bought in the Killeen area. He got out of the vehicle, walked into another building and opened fire again, and then engaged with a female military police officer before shooting himself.
He put his hands up, General Milley said, then reached under his jacket. The female officer pulled out her weapon, and then Specialist Lopez put his weapon to his head and fired. General Milley described the officer’s actions as “clearly heroic,” adding: “She did her job. She did exactly what we would expect of U.S. Army military police.”
A tragedy all around and in particular for this community, which suffered from the mass shooting event conducted by Nidal Hassan in November 2009. There’s no evidence that this attack was motivated by ideology.
Naturally, some are questioning why Lopez was allowed to purchase a handgun in his condition. But he hadn’t been diagnosed with a mental illness, had presumably committed no prior crimes, and is a combat veteran. I don’t know under what premise we would have denied him the right to purchase a firearm. Tens of thousands of veterans have symptoms of post-traumatic stress; they don’t tend to go on shooting sprees.