Transcript for Lt. Gen. Mark Milley on Ft. Hood Investigation
This is a special -- -- from the ABC. Get -- for New York's three days after three people were killed by a gunman at Fort Hood Texas and investors and are working to build a timeline of events that they believe can help explain why the suspect the killer Ivan Lopez. Opened fire on his own in his own unit let's -- down to Fort Hood Texas where it military's holding a news com. -- grieving process and as this difficult time and that Fort Hood and all of our leadership will be there with them throughout. We have completed. Next of kin notification. On the three fallen soldiers and I can now confirm publicly. Their identities. Two of the soldiers. From the forty -- transportation battalion. And one of the killed the victims. Is on the first medical brigade. A sergeant first class Daniel Michael Ferguson. Aged 39. From mulberry Florida. Entered active service in July 1993. As a transportation management coordinator. -- was assigned. -- the 49 transportation battalion for the fourth sustainment brigade. Of the thirteenth sustainment command. And he was a transportation. Supervisor. There's deployments. Include Kuwait. Iraq and Afghanistan. Staff Sargent Carlos was me Rodriguez 38. From Arcadia -- dirty go. Entered active duty service in February. 1995. As the -- supply specialist. They assigned to the 21 combat support hospital. For the first medical brigade. In February 2012. Where he served as a unit supply sergeant. He deployed to Kuwait. And also. -- act. Sargent Timothy Wayne Owens. 37. -- him Illinois. -- entered active duty service. In July 2004. As a motor transport operator. Is assigned to the 49 transportation but Diane -- sustainment brigade thirteenth sustainment command. Where he served as a heavy vehicle driver. He deployed to Iraq. And to Kuwait's. Their release -- -- service records. -- will be available to you at the Fort Hood press center dot com later on this evening. We will memorialize all three of these fallen soldiers the next Wednesday. And our public affairs office of -- that did -- in the coming days -- will be available. To all of you. Also available later this evening we're putting together a map -- for you a simple map and diagram. -- the -- site. To include a basic sequence of events as we understand them now. They'll be very basic and not to the level of detail of an investigation. That is still ongoing but very basic to help you orient. On where this event occurred. In regards to the injured soldiers that we visited. This morning. I've had the opportunity both yesterday and today to visit all of the injured soldiers and Darnell and Scott and white. And Charlie we still have three remaining soldiers. At Scott and white and three at Darnell here on Fort -- They're all strong. Each of them is resilient their families are resilient. And an opportunity to meet with some of their families. And -- dealing very well a difficult situation we all look forward to pray for their full recovery. Dan soldiers of the original sixteen and now been released from hospital and -- return to duty. And I as a commander as a soldier and incredibly impressed. -- of medical professionals about Scott and white. There are now the entire response of the Fort Hood emergency responders in the community at large. As you know there's a lot more details. Beyond what I've given you the last couple of days. And there's much of those details are not release -- -- to the public at this time because we do have a ongoing investigation. However I do want to clarify. Two points a specific to special specialist Lopez's. A medical condition. First. We are digging and it is our combat experience in Iraq. And so far. We have not discovered. Any specific dramatic event. Wounds received in action contact with the enemy. Or anything else specific that he may have been exposed to while deployed. But we are continuing to examine this line of inquiry. Secondly. There's underlying medical conditions. We do not believe -- the direct precipitating factor. To the incident. His underlying medical conditions are not a direct specific dating factor. We believe that the immediate precipitating factor was more likely. An escalating argument is unit area. Number we are still conducting that did -- investigation and will address every single one of the puzzle and contributing factors that resulted. In this horrible tragedy. As you know. The investigation not team here is robust. Iran and its multi agency right now we have. Almost -- FBI agents working with us and forensic specialists. Over -- Texas Rangers are contributing to the investigation. In almost fifty US army CID agents and of course our Fort Hood MPI military police investigation James. And our local law enforcement detectives -- from -- and Parker heights. Additionally we have specialist and medical investigations. On hand two assists. And altogether we have over a 150 professionally trained investigators. From federal state and local agencies. -- -- all the further details of ongoing medical and criminal investigations. To the law enforcement agencies and healthcare professionals. At this point I would like to introduce. Colonel. -- the lot of these the commander. The sixth military police group. A CID that was based at joint base Lewis McCord. But Washington State. And also mr. Chris -- from CA de -- briefly now review of the status of the investigation. After their comments so we want to -- questions. Chris. -- general. Good afternoon. My name is Chris -- I'm the spokesperson for the US army criminal investigation command based out of Quantico Virginia. -- multi agency law enforcement task force. Led by army CID. Here at fort -- into the tragic shootings of the incident that took place on Wednesday. I'm here today to provide you with an update. -- -- investigative. Update on regard to the ongoing criminal investigation. Unfortunately and as you know we lost four soldiers. On Wednesday to include the shooter was one of those soldiers. That number includes. Sixteen others who were wounded. On behalf of all law enforcement working this case both civilian and military. Let me begin by expressing my sincerest condolences to the loved ones the families of the soldiers. And the friends but the wind really killed during this tragic incidents. I would be providing as much release of -- information as possible today but please keep in mind this is an ongoing. Criminal investigation. And we are only releasing facts at this point that we feel confident will not jeopardize the ongoing case. As you know the Fort Hood -- of emergency services the military police -- army CIB. And a host of other law -- -- professionals. Begin respond to reports shots fired at approximately fourteen. Rescues me 4:16 PM on Wednesday. Numerous reports of gunfire and -- personnel are received and -- continued at various locations. Which contributed to the chaos and confusion. Associated with the initial reports. The alleged shooters specialist Ivan Lopez. Initially opened fire with a Smith & Wesson 45 caliber semi automatic handgun. Near the intersection of 72 street and tank destroyer boulevard. The entire crime scene encompasses almost a two city block area. We do have credible information he was involved in a verbal altercation. With soldiers from his unit just prior today -- -- to him allegedly opening fire. The subject then proceeded to travel to two other nearby buildings. In -- those locations and opening fire. In transit to those locations. While his personal vehicle he indiscriminately fired other soldiers while moving from one location to another. At this time we are still gathering evidence and processing a very large crime scene so we will not be giving you a time time. Step by step timeline of the activity for the investigation. The alleged shooter then encountered -- responding military police officer and approached her. Subsequently there was -- verbal exchange between the two. The military police officer drew her assigned firearm and fired one round when the subject brandished his weapon. We do not believe the subject was struck but we are currently confirming that fact with the armed forces medical examiner. Based on witness statements and other testimonial evidence today. The alleged shooter then placed himself placed his firearm to his own head and fired one round killing himself. Those actions by the alleged subject and the military police officer obviously part of the ongoing investigation. At this time we have. The one alleged subject connected these shootings and all evidence at this point in the investigation indicates that the subject acted alone in the actual shootings. We have no evidence thus far that contradicts that finding. But it is critical to point out that we are not ruling anything in or out at this early stage of the investigation. And we will continue to aggressively pursue. Any and all credible leads and information associated with this case. There were initial reports that there were possibly two shooters involved on Wednesday. But that has been attributed to the chaotic nature of the situation and the alleged shooters movement from location to location as I described the earlier. Additionally we have not found any links to terrorism. Or any international. Or domestic or extremist groups at this time. But again we have not completely ruled that out in order to conduct a complete and thorough investigation. Within the large crime scene I describe there are three significant crime scenes inside buildings. And three areas outdoors that we are focusing our case on -- those scenes are currently being processed by highly trained CID special agents Texas Rangers. And members of the FBI's elite evidence response team. That processing includes evidence collection. Crime scene re creation. Triangulation of evidence studying the flight of the bullets fired and three days scanning of the crime scene. To date we have -- and interviewed more than 900 people during during the course of this investigation. Immediately following the shootings CID along with the assistance from the military police and outside agencies took positive control. And screen more than 1000. Potential witnesses. And possible suspects in the immediate vicinity -- before releasing them back to their unit. At this point in the investigation we have well over a 150 special agents from army CID. FBI and the ATF as the general mentioned as well as the Texas Rangers. The weapon allegedly used in the commission of these crimes has been recovered as evidence and we will be processing now that the defense forensic science centers. US army criminal investigation laboratory in Atlanta Georgia. We will conduct firearms forensics and ballistics. Testing to confirm the shots fired during these crimes came from that specific weapon. We have also confirmed through our investigation that specialists Lopez purchased the -- recovered at the -- excuse me recovered at the crime scene on March 1. From a local establishment outside of Fort Hood. They brought it on to Fort Hood in violation of DOD army and Fort Hood regulations. We have not uncovered any history of criminal convictions or previous criminal activity by specialist Lopez. At this time we have not established a concrete motive but we will do everything in our power to do so. Given that the alleged shooter is deceased the possibility. Does exist that we may never know exactly why the alleged shooter did -- dead. But again. We are bringing the very latest technology and investigative methods to bear to attempt to find out. Finally since Wednesday's incident we have received tremendous support from the fellow law -- for professionals. And the greater Fort Hood community both inside and outside the gate. Army -- would especially like to think the following agencies for their teamwork professionalism during this very difficult time. The FBI. The ATF. Texas department of public safety and the Texas Rangers. The Fort Hood directorate of emergency services. The clean police department. Parker heights police department -- -- county sheriff's office and the temple police department. We'd also like to thank lieutenant general Millie and his staff for their tremendous support and cooperation while we are conducting our investigation. Let me assure you we are fully committed to this investigation. That concludes my update today we are not releasing any further details. I appreciate your patience and understanding during this -- very difficult time thank you. -- will take just a few questions. And then now we're not in an area press conference. Tomorrow Saturday nor Sunday. We have we'll do one again on Monday. We will not do one -- day memorial services Wednesday. The next one after that will be a Thursday it will not do a press conference. At the memorial service for the may be some visitors show up. -- maybe some trees -- press availability at that time let there be no press conference the next press conference this Monday. One after that will be Thursday at this time. We have -- attention questions. -- let me start over here good. That's that's part of the investigation that's that's looking at them. I'm not gonna reveal that information right now that's -- investigation. -- don't we don't discuss you don't discuss witnesses victims and me anything. That's again that's -- their ongoing investigation. Right. -- -- -- Israel don't know -- reports. But what does it. Good night. Again that's all for the -- investigation and we can be able to release that information that we want to make sure that we have all the facts correct. And human rights everyone's rights are protected. And we -- we get it right the first time so our investigation continues. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- This is there -- vision. Knows knowing. All of mister -- all right -- segment. There's no indication. Previous specific authority -- a specific individuals so that remains true. Restaurant. -- -- however as you know that's our investigation progresses. We uncover new information as we continue to investigate so that's that's why -- -- -- talking head on public health care. And I and I heard -- an investigation. -- -- -- -- -- There was no premeditated -- an individual. In this sense. Walking into specific target specific individual is no indication of that. There was an argument. It escalated the details of which will be discussed at a later -- -- investigations completed. And Pittsburgh. -- I'm now. I have to check back. Located have a. I I don't know that. I don't think you know I don't know if -- certain you know I don't know. And again. What I gave you my briefing that's all releasing at this point we're not getting into the details obviously the ongoing investigation. I'm not getting any more specific so if you have specific questions about the investigation -- have to come back to. -- -- not alone and Internet news. Now. You know -- We have a set a standard operating city's most all the military installations throughout the army. I have a set of policies and regulations that we all follow. We have random access measures security. -- case. It's. We have a set a standard operating city's most all the military installations throughout the army. I have a set of policies and regulations that -- all follow. We at random access measures security. Locations that require experience -- We are reviewing all of those. And I have not issued specific instructions to make -- change those. At this time we have adjusted some of the within existing -- -- -- we have increased some of the Force Protection measures here. Temporary in nature so -- shut -- the day's other artists you see some additional -- except for. But overall change in policy. No have not done that yet. -- -- I'm not demanded details like gave you as much -- -- on the crime scene where it is. -- -- -- -- Again I'm not getting him in numbers -- details. Like -- said in my briefing I'm not getting into specifics of a time line. Not getting into specifics of the timeline step by step at this point. We've got an ongoing criminal investigations I'm not going to be able to answer those questions are. Mr. -- it wouldn't. We're not in your recent step by step the entire event -- so far investigation. To my knowledge at this point and we're still early. But there are several cases of soldier performance. That clearly injury in in indicated. -- action in my view as commander in my judgment. One of whom I was a -- I won't release the -- games but one of whom was a -- Who it looks to me is if she probably save some lives. And and did so and suffered some injuries in the process. Second I think performed exceptionally well as a female sergeant. There's another. So it's. That's correct military police Sargent that's another soldier who although wounded at the presence of mind. In a very difficult situation to throw another soldier into -- room closed door any -- 911. And in this third -- second source who also dial 91. Despite severe wounds so there's several cases and has more out there will uncover those and -- -- And and I as the commander will take a hard look at all of those in. I plan recognizes some of those are for or -- over over the took over the weeks to come. Now nothing bad -- for his service the medical investigators are. Reviewing all the medical records -- very very great detail. So though though appropriate time. What we discuss -- -- -- in the investigation but that's gonna take some time. Enough and -- what authorities said. There was -- it lasted just a matter of minutes. It's a very fluid situation. Both in. Fluid situation goes in buildings. Outside of buildings. A number just took a small number of minutes it was not. Very long time at all and again the military police responded within four minutes and -- on scene. I'm not getting the details. I -- verbal altercation. -- verbal altercation. Again I'm sorry I know you all understand I'm not getting into the details and that's why I said in my in my press briefing I can't get -- details why we have an ongoing investigation so. As we go forward when I said that -- military police officer he approached -- military police officer they Roxy on foot. -- -- -- -- -- -- He was he was shooting from his vehicle as he was moving as I -- him everything yes. Take it would take to mark not investigation related questions if you want. Probably got. -- -- I've talked -- much -- understood the question. That. Public asks me DOD to drag its quality member. Employees. We don't know yet were conducting his part of the investigation will determine further gaps and seams -- there -- -- we'll take corrective action. -- though those -- the type facts are motivated the heroism sort of saying and protecting other soldiers were were -- relatives -- unit -- command and find out. Precisely what each soldier did where they were -- the -- after. Specifically. His actions. I'm not -- comment right now on that because I wanna see the whole thing put together and that'll take a few days. But that's not what I said. That's -- as a resident was the underlying. Medical conditions. Are not believed to be the precipitating. Event. To the actual -- There's a difference to rescind the dating event we think was probably. This this argument some sort of argument that her. Different. They'll be fully and comprehensively investigated. To the nth degree -- OK last question. -- -- it put the characterization adjectives. On their. Practice time away to the investigation comes back with what they believed to be the case. Okay thank you very much appreciate it. There's that -- is an investigation out of -- shooting from Fort Hood Texas three days after. Ivan Lopez opened fire killing three people. Three of those soldiers identified today sergeant first class David Ferguson staff Sargent Carlos Rodriguez and Sargent Timothy Owens. From that shooting that took place on Wednesday. More details coming up at an investigation is continuing sixteen people injured from that. I want -- and ABC's -- Martinez standing by the Pentagon and Mary Bruce who was standing by also live from. From Fort Hood. Mary in the investigation continues on about -- what about the victim sixteen hospitalized. Initially. How many are calling recovery. Afternoon Dan what we now know that ten of those sixteen that -- gravely wounded are now back at home. Resting comfortably we hope. An additional several members of those are some of those soldiers that were wounded have also now had their conditions upgraded from critical to fair. But keep in mind these -- severe wounds that we're talking about several of these soldiers were shot in the neck in the spine in the abdomen so even though ten of them are now at home -- still like. Very long road ahead. Also what have we learned about them the moments before the shooting actually began. Look you heard just then and then press conference. Investigators here are now focusing largely on what they believe was an argument that happened directly before. The shooting but. We've also learned a lot about the moments directly before Ivan Lopez opened fire we know that he visited the human resources department here at Fort Hood. And -- asked for a leave of absence when he was told that he should come back the following day. He became I rate left and returned with -- -- and so while the motive it remains unknown. Now investigators looking heavily into what happened in this altercation what may have. Cause specialist Ivan Lopez to become so angry so exasperated and then go into the human resources department -- of that leave of absence but again the focus. Chipping away from his mental state at the time in more towards this altercation and fight that he may have had another -- company. Investigators are trying to piece together a timeline of events and -- -- up to that. Little to bring -- this -- little more about justice specialist envelope has a history of Puerto Rico is life there what we've waited we find out. Well yesterday and we knew that he had was a member the Puerto Rico National Guard but obviously when you remember the National Guard he also have a job in -- an -- sector. While his job for ten years in Puerto Rico as as a police officer in the Puerto Rico police department. He was a patrol officer in the San -- district up there the capital city of Puerto Rico for a good time. I'm and then he joined the band the Puerto Rico police department -- -- we've known that he was a musician. He also joined the National Guard and he was a member that any unit. And so -- in addition to being a police officer. Of regular patrol officer in Puerto Rico he was also dealings. Side projects at community engagement as a member of the bad surprising and and -- 2010 he left the -- the police department when he became an active duty soldier. And was transferred to -- A Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas. We also learned that this could have all been sort of because of a verbal altercation as you've been talking about what do we know about some of the. We had an important clarification there from general -- yesterday his comments that. -- psychiatric history was being looked at as an underlying cause -- today he stepped back from that saying that it was this argument in the. Whitney unit -- you -- that precipitated. Or is -- direct for syndicator of the shooting incident itself. But they're looking at everything that may have led up to that incident as you heard. Mary reports that is from reporting that ABC's done with the relative of one of the shooting victims who indicated that there was an an argument. Revolving around a request that. -- at me for some time off and that he was told come back the next day. And that led to an increasing altercation and then at some point later he came back with a weapon. Sixteen were injured as -- had just mentioned -- been dispatched from the hospital there but as she had pointed out though very serious wounds. Three that were killed identified their names. Released today after their next of kin were notified what do we know about these victims. Of the shooting. Blakey -- -- and very -- killed information about these individuals. Very experienced soldiers and made him -- multiple deployments to Iraq. Some some one of them had joined back in the early nineties so you knew that he was very experienced. Soldier on they -- all three of the shooting victims of the fatalities. Were not commissioned officers. You don't get to those ranks almost got a lot of experience. And officers have a lot of confidence in your abilities so it seems to me that the individually and some kind of leadership capacity there at the transportation unit that he belonged. Two and the other victims that we talked about that you heard in talking an about the heroes on the chaplain. Who helped cover while others those -- -- -- -- about a window. The MP. Who came in and then -- the DA mention a third soldier who also stood up. Two look -- a during the firefight. So it's more information about their backgrounds. And as they've released from the hospital I'm sure that more their stories we'll get out. We we also understand last week -- to go -- that all three is served in the same unit as Lopez to innovate that they serve overseas together. I don't precisely how that information and I know that they released their service records just as we are getting on the air. But I what we -- know is that they all had extensive deployment histories. To Iraq. We know that -- himself only serve for four months at the end of 2011. And those four months were known for very low combat activity in again -- heard. -- at the very top saying that we have gone through his service record in Iraq we have no information right now indicates that he had any direct combat. That he suffered any wounds or that had anything that would indicate a traumatic brain injury which -- of self reported last sometime last year. ABC's good Martinez at depending on the we thank you that of course when -- thing. Our ABC's papers which anybody at Fort Hood as well of course you can keep up with the latest on the investigation Fort Hood in real time. By downloading ABC news that starring the story for exclusive updates on the go. For now though I'm -- -- in New York.
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