HOUSTON - The suspected shooter who killed three people at the U.S. Army base in Fort Hood, Texas before killing himself was being seen by a psychiatrist and showed no signs of violence or suicidal tendencies, U.S. Army Secretary John McHugh said on Thursday.
McHugh also told a U.S. Senate committee there was no indication that the soldier was involved with any extremist organizations.
Speaking to reporters at Fort Hood's main gate late Wednesday, Lt. General Mark Milley said the shooter, identified as Ivan Lopez, was stationed at the base and had died at the scene of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Area hospitals treated 16 injured people, including a few who were listed as in critical condition.
Milley said the weapon used was a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol that had been purchased off base. He said the exact sequence of events was still under investigation, but that from what is known the perpetrator carried out the shooting with cold determination.
"It is believed that he walked into one of the unit buildings, opened fire, got into a vehicle, fired from the vehicle, got out of the vehicle, entered another building and opened fire again and then was engaged by local law enforcement," said Milley.
Although Milley said the shooter had not been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, he was being treated for mental issues that may have been related to his service in Iraq in 2011.
Fort Hood was the scene of a mass shooting in 2009 that resulted in 13 deaths and more than 30 people wounded. The shooter in that incident, Major Nidal Hasan, was wounded by military police and left paralyzed from the waist down. Last year he was convicted of carrying out the attack and sentenced to life in prison.
Hasan admitted to the shooting, claiming he had been motivated by his Muslim faith. Evidence presented in that case showed he had been influenced by radical Islamic clerics who advocate terrorism. Officials say there is no evidence yet of any terrorist connection with this latest shooting.
President Barack Obama vowed to get to the bottom of what happened Wednesday at Fort Hood and said he was heartbroken that something like this had happened again at the base.
Some information for this report provided by Reuters