From Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller:
“As some of you might have heard there has been a tragic shooting at the Fort Hood Army Base in Texas,” President Obama said this afternoon at the Department of Interior, speaking at a previously scheduled Tribal Nations Conference meeting of Native American leaders.
“We don’t yet know all the details at this moment,” the president continued. “We will share them as we get them. What we do know is that a number of American soldiers have been killed and even more have been wounded in a horrific outburst of violence.”
“My immediate thoughts and prayers are with the wounded and with the families of the fallen and those who live and serve at Ft. Hood,” he said. “These are men and women who have made the selfless and courageous decision to risk and at times give their lives to protect the rest of us on a daily basis. It’s difficult enough when we lose these brave Americans in battles overseas. It is horrifying that they should come under fire at an army base on American soil.”
The president said he’s spoken to Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen “and I will continue to get a constant stream of updates as new information comes in. We are working with the Pentagon, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, who all have been assured that the fort has been secured, and we will continue to support the community with the full resources of the federal government.”
A White House official says that the Pentagon, Department of Homeland Security, FBI and other members of the intelligence community are “assessing and gathering facts about the shooting. Because this is early in this event we cannot – at this time – confirm motives behind these shootings.”
The president said he asked Americans in the meantime “to keep the men and women of Fort Hood in your thoughts and prayers. We will make sure that we get answers to every single question about this horrible incident and I want all of you to know that as commander-in-chief there is no greater honor but also no greater responsibility for me than to make sure that the extraordinary men and women in uniform are properly cared for and their safety and security when they are at home is provided for. So we are going to stay on this. But I hope in the meantime that all of you recognize the scope of this tragedy and keep everybody in your thoughts and prayers.”
It’s worth noting that Fort Hood is located in Killeen, Texas, home to the deadliest shooting rampage in modern US history until the Virginia tech Massacre: The Luby’s Massacre. On October 16, 1991, George Jo Hennard, 35, drove his pickup truck through the window of a Luby’s Cafeteria. Armed with with a Glock 17 and a Ruger P-89, Hennard killed 23 people, wounded 20 others, then shot himself.
-Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller