Four are dead and 16 are injured after a soldier went on a shooting rampage at Fort Hood military base yesterday afternoon. The shooter took his own life after a brief standoff with military police. Officials say the man used a gun bought off-base.
Initial reports of the shooting were foggy. Yvonne Frate, a middle school teacher at Fort Hood, said she had just driven off the base when she saw police cars racing in.
"We just saw several different police and sheriffs vehicles heading towards ft hood. And it sounds like they’re being summoned by Fort Hood," Frate Said
Fort Hood officials say the shooting started at about 4:00 in the afternoon. Within 15 minutes, the base was put on lockdown—loudspeakers warned everyone on the base to stay indoors and away from windows.
Tayra DeHert’s husband is a soldier stationed at Fort Hood. She is nine weeks pregnant. All during the lockdown she waited, worried at the base’s visitor’s center...praying for the all clear.
"I know god is protecting him and all those soldiers in there. But as you can tell, I’ve got my phone in my hand and I’m waiting for his phone call," DeHert said.
Finally, at 9:00 in the evening the base was cleared. The rampage lasted for only fifteen minutes, but the gunman took three lives and his own. Sixteen were injured; three remain in critical condition at Scott and White Hospital. The shooter’s weapon was a .45 caliber semiautomatic Smith and Wesson pistol. General Mark Milley, Fort Hood's commanding general, says the gun was purchased recently off-base.
"It is believed that he walked into one of the unit buildings, opened fire, got into a vehicle, fired from a vehicle, got out of the vehicle, walked into another building, fired again," Milley said. Then a military policewoman engaged the shooter. "He was approaching her at about 20 feet, put his hands up, then reached under his jacket, pulled out the 9 mil, then she pulled out her weapon, and then she engaged and he put the weapon to his head and he died of a self inflicted gunshot wound."
The shooting comes just one day after the Marine Corps confirmed that an army recruit was allegedly plotting a “Fort hood-inspired jihad against U.S. soldiers.” Fort Hood was the site of a mass shooting in 2009 when Nidal Hasan, an army psychiatrist, killed 13 people. During his trial, Hasan referred to himself as a Muslim holy warrior. General Milley said there was no apparent connection between yesterday’s shooting and terrorism, but no motive is being ruled out.
"We do not know a motive, we do know that this soldier had behavior health and mental health issues and was being treated for that. He served four months in Iraq in 2011. There are reports that he self-reported a traumatic brain injury, he was on medications," Milley said.
Soldiers are not allowed to carry concealed weapons on the Fort Hood military base. Current policy requires soldiers to register weapons and keep them in an arms room.