Transcript for Fort Hood Shooting Update
I'm Michelle Franzen for ABC news in New York four dead and sixteen injured. Three critically and now military officials at Fort Hood in Texas. Are trying to find out why an army specialist opened fire on his colleagues yesterday before killing himself. Let's listen in. -- moved from there so I would without further -- -- Gerald Gerald LA and senator Gordon. Good afternoon. Again condolences to the families of the fallen. And are. Compassion and condolences for all of those who were injured and -- a fair for all their families and work closely. All of them at this time. Right not like to provide you an update won't repeat the information that provided. Yesterday. Or last night. But an update destroyed update on -- -- incidents that happen. -- today. First I want to announced that we have. Positively identified and we are able to release is next again have been notified. The alleged shooter is specialist -- a Lopez. Is 34 years old. Originally from Puerto Rico. Specialist -- says I was assigned to the 49. Transportation and movement control -- giant. Of the thirteenth sustainment brigade. An -- again is next again notification. Has been complete. We will be publishing later on this afternoon this evening. Especially as Lopez's. -- a bull service record. And you can find that on Fort Hood oppressed sector dot com. -- -- do -- Lopez's. Medical status. Out of respect that you can understand for his family. And the integrity -- the ongoing investigation. I would not say anything further. And the comments. That I made yesterday. As for the investigation a criminal investigation. Division of the united states army. Continues as the lead investigating agency. And they are right now so agonizing. All of the investigative work. Of the federal state local and army. Agencies. Throughout Fort Hood in the surrounding. Area on there interviewing witnesses. And as an ongoing and active investigation. I would ask that everyone now -- Speculation. About the incident. And let the investigation and investigators. Take their course. Many of those are also. Many of those soldiers are also witnesses. And I would ask the media -- due respect of the integrity investigation. Just try to stay where soldiers may have been witnesses. And as I stated last night. At this point we have not yet ruled out any thing. -- whatsoever. We are committed to letting the investigation run its course. But we have again no indications at this time of any links to terrorist organizations. Of any -- Either national or international. I just every Karen from Scott and white. And visited -- -- wounded soldiers down there. And I'd like to its bank probably. The great professional. Support that we've gotten -- from the entire medical staff at Scott and white. Tremendous effort by all of them on the medevac pilots and also the great professional medical effort. That was done here on Fort -- at Darnell. There are definitely still out there now and -- -- still being treated at Scott and white and they are getting world class medical care and we appreciate. All of that. That -- we have six dean wounded soldiers. And as we've said yesterday. Four killed. The shooter and three victims. Of the sixteen soldiers and nine of them are at Scott and white currently. And three -- -- Darnell. For the -- of -- had been released. We're planning a memorial ceremony. Early next week we will keep you advised. Of one that is we honor our fallen. I'd also like to thank the outpouring of support from the central Texas community and gave -- dire state of Texas. And from all of our national leadership within the military and civilian leadership of the national level. Everyone is -- in try to assess anyway they again. And I would recommend that any individual wanting to donate some weren't. In any manner shape reform act on stacked Florida GAO it's on the -- -- -- and make -- point you in the right direction. About a variety of organizations. In the US though the red drops. And a wide variety of other organizations. Are providing assistance right now we deeply appreciate. Their support. As well. With that I'll take questions after actor and -- over to senator cornyn but again -- asked it to keep the follow on. And the families. Of the vault along with the wounded and the families of the wounded in your thoughts. Prayers thank you very much. -- But general -- and -- you have been listening to a press briefing from lieutenant general mark -- at Fort Hood. Right now I want to bring in ABC's Mary Bruce at Fort Hood Texas also for the latest updates Mary give me an idea what we just heard in the update. We're learning some additional details about the -- 34 year old I've been Lopez he was an active duty soldier. We know that he spent four months overseas in a rocket one point. And as we just heard -- they didn't get any more details about his mental health history history there's obviously a lot of focus on that. We learned late last night he was being evaluated for. Stress disorder he had not yet been diagnosed but he had -- -- out for help dealing with anxiety and depression. Now all of these things these new details coming out about his personal life and obviously. Everyone here is digging through his record very closely to show. And -- Kennedy set the mood at Fort Hood right now obviously there are once again shaken by this latest shooting of course. -- still recovering from that. NASA's massive shooting five years ago. Of course you know as President Obama -- -- yesterday this reopen old wounds from that shooting nearly five years ago. It was the deadliest massacre on a US military base in the history. All of those emotions now coming back to this service and keep in mind this is very much ongoing investigation. Officials here are still looking into what couldn't read and it specialists Lopez to killed three of his fellow soldiers and -- taking his own life. It's -- wallet it's absolutely an emotional scene still very much an ongoing investigation and it details are of course still coming out. ABC's Mary -- -- the Texas thank you we want to go back to the press conference now we're lieutenant general mark Millie is. Fielding questions. In this specialists have been transferred to this facility in order to take advantage of the WTU. And and the now. It was I transferred to Fort -- -- Fort Bliss. -- signed a unit of Fort Bliss Texas it was reclassified into another OS. Wally was at Fort Bliss it was an infantryman. -- reclassified. And 88 Mike vehicle operator. -- game two port. Put under that -- it was not being transferred here. To be assigned to the WTU. Now that is not the reason why -- transfer. That is not the reason why he's been -- thank -- Well we're looking into that right now yeah that's. There are reports that trying to confirm or deny that. Actually yeah. Specialist Logan -- would rebuild. Say that he was upset he was given only morning when reminded military. Yeah I don't have the details on that right now. -- It. -- -- again please. Now the that unit mission was complete at four months. I do not know. At this time there's no change in the DOD policy that I'm aware of it. -- carrying weapons on a military excellent. And. And you last night illness and pain. Why. We have very strong evidence that he had -- medical history. That indicates unstable psychiatric or psychological condition. Gone for all the records to ensure it. That is in fact correct we believe that to be the fundamental underlying cause of back. -- -- there's. None no specific incidents that's correctly that I'm aware of atlas. I'm sorry. Not that I'm aware of. Not that I'm aware of enough. To record. At the wrong. -- I'm sorry one. We're not good and that try to figure out what the trigger event was was mentioned yesterday. There may have been a verbal altercation with a another soldier or soldiers. And as a strong possibility that that in fact. Immediately preceded. The shooting what we do not have that definitively at this point. But we do have strong indications that there. I'm not -- that the question. How women think you can -- There's not registered a weapon on Florida that's correct it. -- -- -- -- -- -- They. As you know Florida it's a big installation. We've got about seventy or 80000 folks here. That work on a -- -- basis. There's another 40000 family members at odds that -- diaries. Contractors and others we've got a population well over a 100000 here that would not be realistic. To do pat down search and every single soldier -- employee -- -- a far weapon on a daily basis of the -- -- -- Yeah. The female MB and then welcome back to your question for the senator but. Whether there are several instances -- of where heroism I would cite that female empty when I'm gonna release her name yet -- germane to the investigation. But she clearly outperformed her duty exceptionally well but there's others. There were folks inside some of these buildings -- performed very heroic personal acts. In saving others there's at least -- one chaplain. That I'm aware of that shielded and saved. Other soldiers broke some windows and got them to safety. I think the performance of the medical staff. The initial performance of medical staff at Darnell was exceptional. I've seen a lot of medical staffs performing combat. And the performance that -- now and the performance has gotten white. Easily rose those levels combat standards. Those an awful lot of lot of lot of ever was an -- yes it did firewood. Around through. The we've got all the commands -- -- -- throughout the at data today. But all the reports in my personal observations so far you got an installation it's strong it's resilient professional soldiers. Very -- presented to combat veterans -- their. So the morale -- soldiers there -- its professional. And we're going about our duties at stake here this and move on to take care of the van. -- -- No indication at this point. No indication that is targeting specific people Holloway investigation I think someone -- it. -- What general -- job is to carry out the policy of the Department of Defense now but I. Confident that there will be a thorough review. Of that policy -- military make the best judgment what it needs to happen -- order protect people on base so I respect. General -- position I'm respect the importance of doing that thorough review. To see -- -- any -- story things that need to be corrected in future policy. -- -- -- -- However -- we're under a thorough investigation of all the systems include. I'm medical have asked for external investigators -- now -- of all of -- doing sir that there's no gaps. Horse names we do know that he was under treatment. So it was in the system. Any was being looked -- I think -- too early to tell. I'll wait until we get to -- visit here the professional medical investigators tell me. Whether there's gaps in that particular system. I do not know that. Feeling like -- You're not now -- wait -- the official investigation comes out. Determine whether it's premeditated or not. -- -- -- I'm sorry -- Hire a little more apparently. Bastia responded to this seeing. It back up -- at 1616. Hours yesterday is the first 911 call. That -- is made by two wounded soldiers who -- no themselves. Demonstrate heroism and presence of mind. To go ahead and make it 911 -- -- both of them down at Scott and white. The shooting began just a few minutes prior to that and they were able to get that -- she arrived with their vehicle at sixteenth when he hours -- right -- minutes. After that 6911 -- she began working as -- -- -- law enforcement. That began to show up short time later the shooter showed up. Approach -- approximately forty feet. And as I described yesterday what is ends up and went down underneath his jacket pulled the 45 caliber Smith & Wesson weapon. At which time she saw that -- doesn't threaten. Bradley so. And then engaged him with small arms fire. What's done and the shooter. Get a self inflicted gunshot and. Yeah I I doubt it based on her -- but I don't know the answer. Yes. I'm sorry. Yes. Close. Sorry there. At this point I'd like not to shed any light on that is that's being fully developed part of the investigation thanks. -- -- -- -- -- He mean any. -- real speculation and I don't American engagement. I think the -- and -- turn. We are looking at all the fact is that you would. Suspect we're looking at everything from finances to medical. Personal relationships. Marital issues. Family health issues -- -- -- -- look at all of them. As fire and -- I'm sorry. Did she strike in. I don't have the full autopsy report. -- guys I did not know if there's other. Wounds or not. Other than the self inflicted gunshot -- it. I don't have all of those rules to find him. Case did just what I said he did which is still at some individuals -- control situation. A broken window and got them out to safety. -- -- I couldn't had a question -- again. The I don't know that I don't know all the facts on that. Reportedly request yet that's been developed by the investigators. So I I don't want to comment on that. So I get accurate information on. Judges. It is got it all it. No there's no connection to that that we know very dark. -- -- There was not -- to. You must -- Gensler. They say they volatile property. That's big guns or great about the guns that they state and federal. I don't know -- we've got local law enforcement -- -- all of that it. No indications of any -- You went into the 49 transportation. -- headquarters them. This man. -- purchase the weapons and guns galore at one marks that's correct. I'm sorry and 1 march. Or another that came out. Previous records. What can be done. -- -- Well mental health issues are the most vexing issues from my perspective in terms of how do we identify people who have genuine problems. That need to be. Treated and need to be at the that they need to be helped -- But I think at the same time we have to be very careful and not paint with too broad -- brush and assume that just because someone has been in combat. That they necessarily have those issues we shouldn't -- -- guys healthy people who -- resilient were able to deal with those stresses. We -- we ought to identify those people the best we can we do need help. And get them the help that they -- And that this remains one of the to -- one of the most vexing but also one of the most urgent. Issues not just with regard the military but with regard to many of the mass shooting incidents we've seen not only on military installations. But in our country. Period it. It takes two more questions. Well that the debate about and discussion about how to appropriately deal with the veterans. And active duty military is mental health issues as one that's been -- on going. For at least the last thirteen years with -- special intensity because of Afghanistan and Iraq. But it's not going to -- my sense is that it's going to. Accelerate and the debate in the scrutiny in the investigation. Will need to. To heighten and -- -- to to deal more extensively with -- this is a very challenging issue but one we can't break from and we won't. They're one part of horizon involving air one -- rising -- There is no indications at this time that is targeting specific so. Last question that. We do and -- develop an exact sequence like building step by step but I'm not prepared to release that at this time. Okay thank you very much appreciate that well -- Panama thank you. You've been listening to a press conference out of Fort Hood the side of the latest shooting yesterday lieutenant general mark -- given us details right now I want to bring in ABC's -- Martinez at the Pentagon. -- we just heard from the army confirmed the shooter was specialist Ivan -- has give us an idea what else we learned. Fully learned that -- more information about gays in the military service record. As actually dissenter Emily was speaking -- released his record and again attract -- of what we've been hearing about it he joined the Puerto Rico National Guard. In 1999. Before eventually transitioning to the army. In 2010. It now appears we had her 2008 -- before that. And then he was assigned to. -- first armored division out of El Paso. Texas. They're stationed at Fort Bliss. That unit the fourth brigade combat team. Was sent to Iraq in July and August 2011 and served four months there. So that pieces that time the reason that unit it was it was there for such a short time. Ways that they all US troops had to pull -- Indiana 2011 and so his unit was gonna sequence in. They kept expecting a much longer duration. Deployment and instead they were there for only four months. We found out that in February of this year. Lopez transitioned to fort hood. If he had been an infantryman now he was becoming a truck driver and he was assigned to this unit the 49. -- transportation. Battalion which was the unit that we heard yesterday it was one of the -- locations where the shooting. He was at Miller was asked whether. That is so Lopez have been transitioned. To Fort Hood because of what they called WTU you may have heard that term there that stands for warrior transition unit. This is a unit specializing. In care for those who are medically challenged. Or those who may be suffer from suffering from psychological duress. So let's Millie said emphatically no he did not come there for that. -- it was just transitioning into this new role. As a truck drivers and we were just looking at does some pictures that were released by the end National Guard of showing him during throughout his career. Give me an idea why you were military officials hasn't cents or why did -- take them so long to release and positively -- the shooter. Well -- -- it's interesting Michelle one of the things. That happens is it in addition to this being a crime and investigation. Island where law enforcement is involved he is also a soldier and they are rules Ford regarding the deaths. Of soldiers. So that there were put in place for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Where you heard -- talk about next of kin notification that meant that his family members had to be notified. Of his death and by law that has to be 24 hour waiting period before that -- to be officially released. So even though he was involved in this in this a crime. They still have to -- adhere to that on the had been some discussion. And I understand here -- at the Pentagon about maybe releasing the name earlier since so many news organizations including ours had his name and other details of about his service record. But ultimately they decided to wait until. -- -- -- -- -- Concluded and the general also mentioned out of respect for the family and for the integrity of the investigation they would not be releasing specific details. About his medical background but the general also. Did specify when asked what he thought that there was strong evidence that he was. Had some psychiatric issues that may have triggered the shooting. He did say that he said that there -- The right now it seems to be -- mean. Indicator that mean reason why he may have done what he did. They of course in nineteen dig deeper but that -- and -- seems to be the leading theory right now. They may come across something else as part of the investigation but for now that's what they're thinking -- what do we know about the moments before that shooting took place wind. Specialist Ivan Lopez went on the base on -- post. Well we -- when we heard from Billy -- a kind of a little narrative there about how there was an altercation -- reports an altercation with this soldier or soldiers immediately preceding. This incident. -- the shooting. As it began. And you've heard that details there that are just remarkable about how to soldiers who had been injured in the shooting themselves. We're the ones that called 911. I was within minutes after having been shot. I'm and then that a police officer that -- -- military police officer that we've heard about. Arrived on the scene four minutes later and then eventually. Sometime after that confronted Lopez in a parking lot. And then shot him as it -- that he was reaching for his weapon and ultimately he died of a self inflicted wound. But oh more details about to what he was doing there we heard the location last night that this was the 49. Transportation battalion. Ended and now we know what that that -- the reason he was. There was because that is where he worked -- -- unit that he had been assigned to you. So new information also about when he purchased the weapon purchased the weapon on March 1. From guns galore which is the same. Gunshot Derrek Lee Texas where major Nadal Hasan -- his weapon price initiating stared back -- 2000. And we're learning about more about the heroics as you mention of the two soldiers along with the defeat female MP who was the last to interact with the soldier before -- Military officials say he turned the gun on himself. We really know about the soldiers who were injured do we know if they were targeted specifically. Familiar with specifically asked that he's did not seem to have any indications -- that right now. Potentially because he was shooting soldiers within his own unit. You would think that there might have been something there you heard him talk about. An altercation which may have set him off. Making -- cut about his mental state that being on balance it. At some point so a mean -- but. Maybe there was some indication -- but you're really -- -- was pretty clear that so far he did not believe any soldiers were being specifically targeted initiating. And there -- specific measures of course after the shooting five years ago put into place to help identify soldiers who may be dealing with mental health issues. Even though we don't know everything about this the general did say that he Lopez was being treated. What will they be looking out from here on forward. -- -- His background personal and professional. Well good to see if there were warning signs that could have indicated that he should have been removed from his unit -- so that he could have. Gotten more care the fact is that as a soldier right now the army has put in place. I'm really significant programs two and the stigma of seeking mental health care for any psychological issues -- can have especially in the last. Ten years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. You've recently seen a rise in PT SB. And so the the army has gone to great lengths bringing in additional mental health behavioral spell specialists and trying to break down -- statement that it's -- to seek help. Now we. Would it he was seeking help we know that he had a psychiatric evaluation as recently as a month ago. That now that -- alienation didn't raise any signals the psychiatrist. We check them out said that he. Did not express any size seeing signs there that he was -- very harm to himself or to others. But -- you have to ask yourself whether may be there's -- to be an additional review that takes place. About warning signs that might indicate that an individual might be considering violent acts. We just recently had the DOT report on the -- navy yard. And the conclusion of that report was that if these shootings. That had resulted in twelve people losing their lives here in Washington last September could have been prevented. Because they were growing signs the mental instability of the shooter in that case. Growing signs that should have been aware. Made aware to his employer and -- that the -- for whom he also was working under contract. And if those red flags have been picked -- he would have been barred from having access and probably -- the shooting may not have them. All issues that military officials as they go into their in depth investigation will be looking at. In this latest shooting ABC's -- Martinez at the Pentagon thank you for joining us -- waste. Keep up with abcnews.com. For the latest on the story that has dominated today's events in Texas and the nation's capital for now I'm Michelle Franzen in New York. Another -- mindful yesterday's mass shooting at Fort Hood. I am being regularly briefed on the situation and I have directed that the full resources of the department of justice and in particular the FBI. Be made available to ensure the security of every one one that base. We will work with local officials and the Department of Defense to provide. Assistance to those who needed to help conducting full and thorough federal investigation. As this investigation unfolds and as we work to determine exactly what happened and why. My thoughts and prayers will be -- all those whose lives have been. But impacted by this terrible tragedy and with the entire Fort Hood community. Which has displayed such extraordinary strength and -- in resilience since the horrific events. But nearly five years ago. Any time the army loses soldier we all mourn when that -- -- at the hands of another soldier. And indeed it when that event occurs -- at the very place that suffered so much pain so much anguish. Just for a -- years ago. It it only adds to to the sorrow and -- all consuming sense of loss the army is feeling this -- For me this is close -- whole month spent a lot of time at Fort Hood personally. I was a brigade commander division commander in the corps commander of fort. I understand the resilience of their community the resilience of the people there how proud -- soldiers or what they do. And we will do everything we can to ensure they continue to move forward. Of those both mental health issues. Should be prevented from. Owning weapons were being able to purchase but. The president and I. Are -- just tore apart when things like this happened so today as we celebrate. The Olympic spirit. We remember that this same spirit the spirit of hard work and teamwork and is shared by our military men and women and we stand with them today and every day. There -- are folks who make such extraordinary sacker. Prices for -- each and every day for freedom. During the course of a decade of war many of them have been on multiple. You know tours of duty. To see unspeakable senseless violence happen. In a place where. They're supposed to feel safe. Home base. Is this tragic and obviously it is the second time that the Fort Hood community has been affected this where so we -- That entire community and honoring. Those who lost their lives. Every single one them was American patriot.
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