4 Dead and 16 Injured in Fort Hood Attack

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from The New York Times,

A gunman in uniform opened fire at Fort Hood on Wednesday, killing three people and injuring 16 others before shooting himself, the authorities said. The attack, reminiscent of a 2009 rampage by an officer who turned on his fellow soldiers, shut down the sprawling Army base and set off a huge police response, the authorities said.

Officials at Fort Hood said the gunman had died of a self-inflicted wound. Reports of the shooting sent dozens of local, state and federal law enforcement officials rushing to the base in Killeen, Tex., as they had back in November 2009. A spokeswoman for the F.B.I. in San Antonio said agents in that office were part of the response on Wednesday.

A Pentagon official said that the suspected gunman was Army Specialist Ivan Lopez.

Representative Michael McCaul, Republican of Texas and the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, on a conference call with reporters, said that a motive for the shooting remained unknown. The gunman was wearing an Army uniform, but it was unclear whether he was on active duty, Mr. McCaul said.

The episode appeared to have unfolded around 4:30 p.m. at a medical support building on the base. Witnesses described chaos as gunshots rang out. “It was like if you went into a room and turned on the lights — all the bugs just scattered,” a man who identified himself as Tyler said in an interview with KCEN, an NBC affiliate.

After the shooting, he described seeing men, women and children being escorted out of a building at gunpoint.

The base was put on lockdown, as Army officials took to Twitter and Facebook to alert soldiers there to shelter in place and stay away from windows. The injured were being transported to Fort Hood’s medical center and other area hospitals.

In addition to the shooting in 2009 and the one on Wednesday, Fort Hood was the site of a planned attack that was foiled by the authorities. A 22-year-old Army private, Naser Jason Abdo, was arrested in July 2011 and charged with trying to detonate an explosive device at a restaurant frequented by Fort Hood soldiers.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, said that many questions remained but that officials’ focus was on supporting the victims and their families. “This is a community that has faced and overcome crises with resilience and strength,” he said in a statement.

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