A soldier went on a shooting rampage and killed at least four persons Wednesday at Fort Hood in Texas, the same post where a mass shooting took place in 2009.
Fort Hood officials said that shots were fired beginning at about 4:30 p.m. local time on the sprawling 214,000-acre base. NBC reported that an enlisted soldier, identified as Ivan Lopez, 34, had killed himself as security personnel responded. Pentagon officials said it did not appear that terrorism was involved in the shootings.
There was no immediate motive given for the shootings that reportedly wounded at least four others. Local hospital officials said some of the wounded were in "grave" condition.
There were initial reports of a possible second shooter but those reports were not confirmed.
Several reports said that the shooter may have been involved in an argument or confrontation with another soldier shortly before opening fire.
At the onset of the incident, sirens wailed across the base and loudspeakers warned that an "active shooter" was on the loose and directed those on the base to "shelter in place." Officers from the Bell County sheriff’s office and other law enforcement agencies rushed to block exits to the base, and President Obama was quickly notified of the incident.
"Many questions remain and our focus is on supporting the victims and their families," said Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Obama later said that "this reopens the pain of what happened at Fort Hood five years ago. We know these families. We know their incredible service to our country and the sacrifices that they make."
Obama said "We're heartbroken that something like this might have happened again."
Last Friday, the FBI’s Kansas City Division put out an alert titled "Planned Fort Hood-inspired Jihad against US Soldiers by Army Recruit."
The FBI report, which was carried by the Marine Corps, said that the alert was being issued "to inform and protect officers who may encounter this individual or others exhibiting the same aspirations," There was no immediate confirmation that the alert and the shooting Wednesday at Fort Hood were connected.
At Fort Hood last August, a court martial sentenced Maj. Nidal Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, to death for the 2009 shooting rampage that left 13 dead and 32 wounded at Fort Hood in what was the worst mass shooting on record at a military base.
The shootings Wednesday at Fort Hood came as the military was conducting a major review ordered by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on access to military bases.
The review was prompted by the shootings last Sept. 16, 2013, at the Naval Sea Systems Command building at the Washington Navy Yard in southeast Washington, D.C., that left 12 dead.
The sole gunman, Aaron Alexis, was employed by a defense contractor and managed to get a weapon past the entrance to the Navy Yard. Alexis was killed by responding officers.
The Navy was also investigating how Jeffrey Savage, 35, of Portsmouth, Va., a civilian with a criminal record, managed to get access to Naval Station Norfolk, Va., on March 21 and board the destroyer Mahan where he killed Petty Officer Mark A. Mayo before being killed by security officers responding to the scene.
-- Richard Sisk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org