Four people were left dead and 16 others wounded after a gunman opened fire at the Fort Hood military base in Texas on Wednesday afternoon.
The suspected shooter, reportedly identified as Ivan Lopez, a 34-year-old military truck driver, was among the dead. The post, which is near Waco in central Texas, is home to the US Army’s 1st Cavalry Division, and was also the site of a 2009 mass shooting in which 13 people were killed.
The first shots were fired inside a building on the base at around 4.30pm local time. The facility was immediately put on lockdown as law enforcement and emergency services personnel scrambled to the scene. The gunman drove to a second building and opened fire again before he was confronted by military police and turned his gun on himself. The incident lasted between 15 and 20 minutes in all.
Officials said the shooting was a “soldier on soldier” incident arising from a personal dispute, and that terrorism was not thought to be a factor. Several people were rushed to nearby hospitals in critical condition. Three later died, and doctors said a fourth was in extremely critical condition at Scott & White Memorial Hospital in Temple on Wednesday night. Those wounded and killed were all military personnel.
US Army spokesman Lt Gen Mark Milley did not confirm the shooter’s identity, but said he had served in Iraq in 2011, and was suspected of suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. He had transferred to Fort Hood from another Texas military base in February.
The events come just months after the trial of Major Nidal Malik Hasan, a radicalised Muslim-American army psychiatrist, who opened fire at a soldier readiness centre at Fort Hood on 5 November, 2009, shooting dead 13 people and wounding 32 others. That was the deadliest shooting ever to occur on a domestic US military base. At the time of his rampage, Hasan was shot by police and paralysed. In August 2013, he was convicted of the killings and sentenced to death.
Speaking to reporters in Chicago shortly after news of the shooting broke, President Barack Obama said he was “heartbroken” that another such incident had taken place at the base. Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, issued a statement saying, “Fort Hood has proven its resilience before, and will again. Texas will support those efforts in any way we can, with any resources necessary.”