One person was dead and at least eight others were wounded in a shooting at Fort Hood, Texas — the same base where a military psychiatrist killed 13 people 4½ years ago — military officials told NBC News.
Military officials said that the shooter was dead and appeared to be a lone gunman who took his own life.
U.S. officials told NBC News the gunman was identified as Ivan Lopez, 34. It wouldn’t confirm reports that Lopez was in uniform or that he had taken his own life. His address was in the Ft. Hood area.
Four of the eight wounded were “extremely grave” condition, according to U.S. military officials.
The Associated Press reported that as many as 14 people were injured, quoting a senior U.S. defense official.
President Barack Obama spoke after the shooting, saying, “We’re heartbroken something like this might have happened again.”
He added, “We’re following it closely. The situation is fluid right now … I want to just assure all of us we are going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.”
Few details were immediately available, but a supervisor at Scott & White Memorial Hospital told NBC News that the hospital was “setting up a command center.”
Bell County and state public safety deputies were securing the perimeter of the area, a senior local law enforcement source said.
The FBI was also on scene to support law enforcement, according to the sources.
Shooting at Fort Hood
Waco police told the public to avoid the fort, saying on Twitter that “there is an on-going active shooter.”
Nevertheless, dozens of friends and relatives of Fort Hood personnel gathered in the base’s visitors’ seeking information about loved ones, NBC station KCEN of Waco reported.
Witnesses and military officials said the shooting occurred about 4:30 p.m. (5:30 p.m. ET). The base’s emergency alert system immediately sounded, and all personnel were told to shelter in place.
Antonio Ortiz, 30, who lives a quarter of a mile from the east gate of Fort Hood, said he heard a commotion and went outside to hear alarms going off and announcements for people to stay inside.
He went back in and turned on the TV news, then soon after heard a barrage of gunshots.
“It sounded powerful,” he said, adding that while it seemed to be coming from the base, he couldn’t rule out the possibility someone in the civilian neighborhood was shooting.
“I’m scared for my son. He’s 7,” Ortiz said. “But I do have a 12-gauge pump shotgun.”
Central Texas College nearby was being evacuated, and all Thursday evening classes at the college and at Fort Hood were canceled, the college said.
And several lawmakers — in and out of Texas — called for prayers afterwards.
Maj. Nidal Hasan was convicted in August of the killing in November 2009 and injured 32 others.
In September, a gunman opened fire at the Washington Navy Yard, killing 12 and wounding 4 before being slain by police. Last month, a civilian shot dead a sailor aboard a ship at a U.S. Navy base in Norfolk, Virginia.
Courtney Kube and Tom Winter, Tracy Connor and Monica Alba of NBC News contributed to this report. This is a developing story. Refresh this page for more.
First published April 2nd 2014, 3:12 pm