POLITICS

Obama On Fort Hood Shooting: 'We're Heartbroken Something Like This Might Have Happened Again'

04/02/2014 07:56 pm 19:56:53 | Updated Apr 03, 2014
ASSOCIATED PRESS

President Barack Obama spoke Wednesday on the shooting at Fort Hood, saying that his administration is keeping close tabs on the situation.

"We're all following it closely," Obama told members of the White House press corps. "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."

He continued, "We're heartbroken something like this might have happened again."

Obama made his statement from Chicago, Ill., where he is scheduled to attend fundraisers for the Democratic National Committee.

Read Obama's full remarks below:

I just got off the phone with Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Sandy Winnefeld to get the latest report on the situation in Fort Hood. Obviously we’re following it closely. The situation is fluid right now. But my national security team is in close contact with not just the Defense Department but the FBI. They are working with folks on the ground to determine exactly what happened to make sure that everybody is secure. And I want to just assure all of us that we're going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.

Any shooting is troubling. Obviously 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. Obviously our thoughts and prayers were -- are with the entire community. And we are going to do everything we can to make sure that the community at Fort Hood has what it needs to deal with the current situation, but also any potential aftermath.

We're heartbroken that something like this might have happened again. And I don't want to comment on the facts until I know exactly what has happened, but for now, I would just hope that everybody across the country is keeping the families and the community at Fort Hood in our thoughts and in our prayers. The folks there have sacrificed so much on behalf of our freedom. Many of the people there have been on multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. They serve with valor; they serve with distinction. And when they’re at their home base they need to feel safe. We don't yet know what happened tonight, but obviously that sense of safety has been broken once again. And we're going to have to find out exactly what happened.

The Pentagon will undoubtedly have further briefings for you as we get more details [about what happened.]

This is a developing story and has been updated.

04/04/2014 4:57 PM EDT

U.S. Military Official: Mental Health Of Shooter Not Direct Factor In Shooting

The Associated Press reports:

FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) — The senior officer at Fort Hood says the mental condition of the soldier who fatally shot three soldiers and wounded 16 others earlier this week was not the "direct precipitating factor" in the shooting.

The comments Friday by Lt. Gen. Mark Milley came a day after he said Spc. Ivan (ee-VAHN') Lopez's mental condition appeared to be an underlying factor.

Milley said Friday that an "escalating argument" precipitated the attack.

Authorities say their investigation has found Lopez had an altercation Wednesday with soldiers in his unit that prompted the shooting.

04/04/2014 4:36 PM EDT

U.S. Military Officials Update On Fort Hood Shooting Investigation

Lt. Gen. Mark Milley and other U.S. Military officials provided additional details on the investigation of the Fort Hood shooting, saying that while the process was ongoing, the rampage was believed to have been preceded by a "escalating argument" involving the alleged shooter, Spc. Ivan Lopez. Officials said that the alleged shooter's mental condition was not the "direct precipitating factor" to the shooting. He said that the alleged shooter's mental health would be fully investigated.

An official said that at the time it is believed that there was "No premeditated targeting of any specific individuals" in the shooting. The weapon used in the shooting had been recovered, and the official said the weapon was purchased on March 1 outside of the base.

The Fort Hood officials said that 10 of the 16 wounded who were admitted to hospital facilities following the shooting had been released and returned to duty.

04/04/2014 4:25 PM EDT

U.S. Military Officials Identify Shooting Victims

In a press briefing, Lt. Gen. Mark Milley identified the three soldiers killed in the Fort Hood shooting: Sgt. First Class Daniel M. Ferguson, age 39; Staff Sgt. Carlos A. Lazaney Rodriguez, age 38; Sgt. Timothy W. Owens, age 37.

Read HuffPost's report here.

04/04/2014 2:03 PM EDT

Official: Alleged Fort Hood Shooter Was In Dispute Over Leave Before Rampage

The New York Times reports:

The soldier at Fort Hood who killed or wounded 19 of his fellow Army members on Wednesday had a dispute with his superiors over their denial of a leave request shortly before the shooting rampage, a law enforcement official said Friday.

The report goes on:

Investigators were also looking into Specialist Lopez’s dispute with Army superiors who had denied his request for leave. He met with Fort Hood officials about the denial on Wednesday shortly before the shooting started and had been clearly agitated and disrespectful after the meeting, the law enforcement official said. It was unclear why he wanted to take time off, but it appeared to involve his family.

Read the report from The New York Times here.

04/04/2014 1:58 PM EDT

Father Of Fort Hood Gunman: He 'Must Not Have Been in His Right Mind'

NBC has released a statement from the family of the alleged Fort Hood shooter, Spc. Ivan Lopez.

Facing the tragedy that occurred on April 2 in Fort Hood, TX, the family of the Puerto Rican soldier Iván López is concerned and asks for prayers for those affected and deceased by the unfortunate incidents. Iván López, father of the soldier, is still in shock and described his son as a calm family man, a young worker who always looked out for the well being of his home and a good son.

"This situation has caused great pain. I ask for prayers for the affected families, even more so when there is still an ongoing investigation. My son must not have been in his right mind, he wasn't like that," said Iván López, Sr.

As an active soldier he defended the nation and received medals. He also worked honorably as a policeman on the island. According to his father, the soldier was under medical treatment and the passing of his mother, his grandfather and the recent changes when transferring to the base surely affected his existing condition because of his experiences as a soldier. No more comments shall be made during the investigation conducted by authorities.

Read the NBC report here.

04/03/2014 8:33 PM EDT

Defense Secretary: Too Soon To Draw Safety Conclusions

AP reports:

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says it's too soon to draw any broad conclusions about safety at U.S. military bases after the deadly shootings at Fort Hood, Texas.

He said Thursday that as the investigation unfolds, the Pentagon will continue to take a close look at any new lessons that can be learned from Wednesday's tragedy and implement any needed changes to base security.

Read the full story here.

04/03/2014 7:08 PM EDT

6 Shooting Victims Discharged From Hospital

04/03/2014 5:54 PM EDT

AP Identifies Victim Of Fort Hood Shooting

One of the victims of Wednesday's shooting has been identified as U.S. Army Sgt. Timothy Owens. His family told the AP that he was a native of Effingham, Ill.

04/03/2014 5:38 PM EDT

Fort Hood Does Little To Keep Out Firearms

According to the NYT, Fort Hood does very little to keep guns off the military base.

"Fort Hood’s weapons rules for soldiers who are not police officers rely in large part on the honor system," the Times reports.

The base does not require entrants to go through a metal detector or any similar screening, a source told the Times.

For more, click here.

04/03/2014 4:52 PM EDT

Family Of Fort Hood Gunman Reportedly Didn't Know He Was Being Treated For Mental Problems

He [Lopez] sought help for depression and anxiety and was being evaluated for post-traumatic stress disorder, military officials said. But Army Secretary John McHugh said Thursday that a psychiatrist last month found no violent or suicidal tendencies. The soldier was prescribed Ambien for a sleeping problem.

He had no apparent links to extremists, McHugh said.

Glidden Lopez Torres, who is not related to the gunman but identified himself as a family friend speaking on behalf of the soldier's family in Puerto Rico, said Lopez's mother died of a heart attack in November.

Lopez was close to her and was apparently upset that he was granted only a short leave — 24 hours, later extended to two days — to go to her funeral, which was delayed for nearly a week so he could make it, the family spokesman said.

The family was not aware that Lopez was receiving any treatment for mental problems, the spokesman said.

Read more here from The Associated Press.

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