From now on, the rampage of former U.S. Army Major and psychologist Nidal Hasan that claimed the lives of 13 people and injured more than 30 more will forever be known as the “2009 Fort Hood shooting.” The fact that we’ll need that disambiguation after yesterday’s massacre, in which a man identified by Central Texas U.S. Congressman Michael McCaul as Ivan Lopez left four dead (including himself) and another 16 wounded after a shooting spree, is just one of the shocking things about yesterday’s tragedy.
But in the immediate aftermath of the event, facts were spotty and hard to come by—media outlets even made basic terminology errors, like referring to the Fort Hood Army post as a “base”—and the information moved quickly. Here’s everything that we know so far—and a few things that we don’t.
What We Know
- The Shooter Is Identified As Ivan Lopez
Initial reports suggested that there might have been multiple suspects, which may have been why Congressman McCaul opted to release details of the shooter, whom he and Rep. John Carter identified as Ivan Lopez. Lopez was a truck driver at Fort Hood who was on active duty at the time of the shooting. He carried out the shooting with a .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol that was unregistered with Fort Hood authorities.
The Austin American-Statesman quotes Fort Hood commander Lt. Gen. Mark Milley as saying that Lopez had been receiving treatment for depression and anxiety, and “had reported receiving a traumatic brain injury,” though he hadn’t received that wound in action. The Army was assessing him for PTSD.
- The Shooter Is Dead
Lopez began his afternoon by shooting at a medical building, getting into a car and continuing to fire, and then entering another building and resuming his attack. At some point in this process, a female military police officer engaged him in a parking lot (“It was clearly heroic what she did,” the Statesman reports Milley said) and Lopez turned his gun on himself, ending his own life.
- Three Military Personnel Were Killed By The Shooter
Everyone injured or killed in Lopez’s assault were military personnel, Milley said. Of the sixteen people Lopez shot, three died on Wednesday.
- Sixteen More People Were Wounded
Many of the victims were taken to Scott & White Hospital in Temple, the Statesman reports, and the chief medical officer at the hospital told the paper that the conditions ranged from “stable to quite critical.” The Associated Press reports that at least three of the victims are in critical condition. One can only hope that the surviving victims recover fully, but it will be some time before we know.
What We Don’t Know
- The Names Of The Victims
We also don’t know the names of the victims, their ranks, or their assignments at Fort Hood.
- Why Lopez Did It
This is likely to be the subject of the most speculation, but it’s far too early to claim any knowledge of Lopez’s motivation. In fact, given that he shot himself on the scene, we may never have a satisfactory answer. Milley told the AP that there was no indication that the attack was related to terrorism. Investigators plan to explore whether the assault may have been instigated by a fight or argument that Lopez had been involved in prior to the shooting. In order to try to construct a narrative for Lopez’s actions, investigators will be seeking out witnesses to learn what he said and did before he began to shoot.
In the meantime, we’ll be pulling for the survivors to recover as we wait to learn more.
(AP Photo/Tamir Kalifa)