The enlisted Army soldier who shot and killed three people Wednesday at Fort Hood before turning his weapon on himself suffered from mental health issues, military officials confirmed.
The shooter, 34-year-old Ivan Lopez, was confirmed dead. As many as 16 others were wounded.
By Thursday morning, nine were still hospitalized at Scott & White Hospital in Temple, Texas; three are in critical condition and six are in stable condition.
Back at the Fort, soldiers’ physical training exercises were cancelled for the morning and chaplain counseling was made available.
Hours after the shooting on Wednesday evening, law enforcement officials lifted a lockdown on the military installation, located just outside of Killeen, Texas, where tragedy struck in 2009 when 13 people were killed in a mass shooting.
In a press conference Wednesday night, Lt. General Mark Milley, Fort Hood’s commanding general, said the incident spanned multiple locations after the shooter opened fire on a unit building at around 4 p.m. The man then got into a vehicle, fired shots and later walked into a separate building to once again open fire.
The incident ended in a standoff with military police when law enforcement officers said the suspect put his hands up in the air and then reached under his jacket to pull out a gun before he fatally turned the weapon on himself.
According to Milley, the suspected shooter suffered from behavioral and mental health issues, and was undergoing a diagnosis process for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The solider served four months in Iraq in 2011, and had arrived in Fort Hood in Februrary. He had not been wounded in action. The gun used in the incident, a 45 caliber semi-automatic, was purchased recently in the area.
President Obama promised “to get to the bottom of exactly what happened,” he told reporters in Chicago Wednesday evening.
“We’re heartbroken something like this might have happened again,” the president said.
Citing federal officials, NBC News’ Jim Miklaszewski reported that the incident may have resulted from a dispute. There is no connection to terrorism at this time.
An eyewitness told KCEN that the shooting started in a medical support building on the post. Some 21 ambulances were on the scene, along with Ft. Hood fire and emergency crews, two SWAT teams and as many as 90 police vehicles.
The Waco Police Department warned residents to take shelter immediately and stay away from windows. Bell County sheriffs and Texas deputies are secured the perimeter of the entire base, and the FBI is on the scene to support local law enforcement.
The shooting Wednesday is the latest in a series of tragedies to have struck American military posts in recent years. Fort Hood was also the site of a mass shooting in 2009, when U.S. Army major and psychiatrist Nidal Malik Hasan fatally shot 13 people and injured more than 30 others. In 2013, a lone gunman similarly opened fire at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., killing 12 people – the second deadliest attack on a domestic military base in U.S. history, after the shooting in Fort Hood.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry said the state would provide “any resources necessary” in the aftermath of the shooting. “Ft. Hood has proven its resilience before and will again,” Perry said in a statement.