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2014-04-10

Another shooting at Fort Hood

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Pictured: Courtesy photo
Fort Hood Commander Lt. Gen. Mark Milley updated the media on the Fort Hood shooting incident.

In a scene reminiscent of the terrorist attack by former United States Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan in 2009, another soldier-instigated shooting occurred at Fort Hood near Killeen on Wednesday, April 2, that left three dead - including the shooter - and 16 wounded.
Officials with Fort Hood's Directorate of Emergency Services (DES) reported that at approximately 4 pm on that date, Spc. Ivan Antonio Lopez, who was assigned to 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) opened fire on individuals in the 1st Medical Brigade area of Fort Hood. The post went on lock down immediately after the shooting incident as individuals were ordered to "shelter in place." The mandatory lockdown remained in place for several hours.
Within 15 minutes of the incident, emergency services officials and numerous law enforcement agencies responded to the scene. After being treated at the scene, the injured soldiers were transported to area hospitals. Of the 16, nine of them remain at Scott & White Hospital in Temple and three at Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Bliss. Four soldiers have already been released.
After a confrontation with a female military policeman in a parking lot, Lopez, 34, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The shooter joined the Army in June 2008 and deployed to Egypt from January 2007 to January 2008 and from August 2011 to December 2011. While stationed at Fort Bliss, near El Paso, Lopez was assigned to the 1st Armored Division as an automatic rifleman. In December 2013, he reclassified as a motor transport operator and was reassigned to Fort Hood, arriving in February.
Initial reports did not indicate that this latest round of violence at Fort Hood was related to terrorism. However, the law enforcement investigation remains ongoing.
During a press conference on April 4, Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, III Corps and Fort Hood commander, identified the fallen soldiers as Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Michael Ferguson, 39, of Mulberry, Florida; Staff Sgt. Carlos A. Lazaney-Rodriguez, 38, of record Aguadilla, Puerto Rico; and Sgt. Timothy Wayne Owens, 37, of Effingham, Illinois. As per military policy, the names of the deceased were not released until 24 hours after family notifications had taken place.
Since entering active duty service in July 1993, Ferguson served tours of duty in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. Among other medals and commendations, he was awarded the Bronze Star. Lazaney-Rodriguez joined the Army in 1995 and served in Kuwait and Iraq, earning, among others, four Army Commendation Medals and a Combat Action Badge. Owens entered active the Army in June 2004, serving in Iraq and Kuwait and earning three Army Commendation Medals and the Combat Action Badge, among others.
State Senator Troy Fraser represents Senate District 24, the district that includes Bell County, home of Fort Hood. He also serves as Bandera County's state senator. Regarding the shooting, Fraser said, "I join countless others in grieving following the senseless violence at Fort Hood. My thoughts and prayers are with all the brave men and women in uniform who serve us at Fort Hood and with their families and loved ones."
Fraser continued, "Perhaps my greatest honor as a legislator is representing the tight-knit community of Fort Hood. While we await more information surrounding this tragedy, I ask that you pray for peace and healing."
Dr. Jeffrey Addicott, professor of law and director of the Center for Terrorism Law at St. Mary's University School of Law, in San Antonio, described members of the armed services as "sitting ducks" because they are not allowed to carry firearms on military installations. "The ban was put in effect during the Clinton administration," he said in an interview on Thursday, April 3. "Before that, soldiers were allowed to carry firearms on post."
Addicott continued, "When the general in charge of Fort Hood was asked if he had changed his mind about allowing weapons on post, he said, 'No.' I'm sure if the gunman had had him in his sights, (the general) would wish he had a firearm. Of course, he denies that but he's not telling the truth.
"It's high time we allow soldiers to carry arms and defend themselves against shootings like the ones at Fort Hood. Front gates simply cannot be secured. Of course, it's always said, if soldiers were allowed to carry firearms, there would be accidents. That kind of thinking is misguided. We don't make rules for the exception. We make rules for the general principle."
As the lead agency, the Criminal Investigation Division of the United States Army is now synchronizing all investigative work of the federal, state, local and Army agencies throughout Fort Hood and the surrounding area.
At this time, there are no indications of any links to terrorist organizations of any type - either national or international. However, Fort Hood officials are committed to letting the investigation run its course.
Monetary donations to the victims of the latest Fort Hood shooting can be submitted online at www.redcross.org.