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'We Do Not Expect Any More Fatalities,' Doctor Says Of Fort Hood Victims

Sgt. First Class Erick Rodriguez stood guard at the entrance to Fort Hood as officials prepared to brief the news media about Wednesday's attack at the post.
Erich Schlegel
Sgt. First Class Erick Rodriguez stood guard at the entrance to Fort Hood as officials prepared to brief the news media about Wednesday's attack at the post.

On the day after a deadly shooting incident on the grounds of Fort Hood, Texas, in which a gunman killed at least three people, wounded 16 and then reportedly killed himself, there was this welcome news:

"We do not expect any more fatalities at this point," Dr. Matthew Davis, head of the trauma unit at Scott & White Memorial Hospital in Temple, Texas, told reporters Thursday morning. Three of the nine victims being treated at the hospital remain in critical condition, but Davis said all three should survive. Scott & White is where those who still need care are being treated.

The day's other developments include word that the gunman, who authorities have identified as Army Spc. Ivan Lopez, was reportedly being treated for depression but had shown no sign he was likely to do harm to anyone or to himself.

Officials said the nine people treated at Scott & White Memorial Hospital are all members of the military and range in age from 21 to the mid-40s. Eight of the nine are men.

Five of them had been discharged by early evening.

The latest news and our original post, which has much more about the deadly rampage, follow:

Update at 4:35 p.m. ET. Shooter Officially Identified:

Lt. Gen. Mark Milley identified the shooter as Spc. Ivan A. Lopez, 34, originally of Puerto Rico. He said there was "strong evidence of a medical history that indicated an unstable psychological condition."

Lopez belonged to the 49th Transportation Battalion at Ft. Hood, but had transferred from Ft. Bliss in El Paso, Texas.

Milley said there was a "strong possibility that a verbal altercation with another soldier or soldiers preceded the shootings," but no indication that Lopez targeted specific individuals.

"There were folks inside some of these buildings who performed very heroic personal acts in saving others. There's at least one chaplain that I'm aware of who shielded and saved other soldiers – broke some windows – got them to safety," Milley said.

He said four of the 16 wounded had been released from the hospital.

Update at 11:50 a.m. ET. Three Victims Critical, But Are Expected To Recover:

Three of the nine patients at Scott & White Memorial Hospital in Temple, Texas, remain in critical condition, Dr. Matthew Davis just told reporters at the hospital. He's head of the hospital's trauma unit. But he added this hopeful note: "We do not expect any more fatalities at this point."

Of the others, two are in fair condition and the others are in good condition, Davis said. Several of them may be discharged later today.

Davis said eight of the patients are men. All nine are now members of the military, he said. Their ages range from "21 to the 40s." NBCDFW.com is streaming the news conference at the hospital.

The doctor also said that the three patients in critical condition have injuries to different parts of their body — one has "injuries to the neck," another has a "potential spine injury" from a gunshot wound and another has an abdominal injury.

Update at 10:45 a.m. ET. "Early Evidence: Fort Hood Gunman Showed No Warning Signs":

"He was seen just last month by a psychiatrist," Army Secretary John McHugh said this morning of the gunman, who was an Army soldier. "He was fully examined and as of this morning we had no indication [from] the record of that examination that there was any sign of likely violence either to himself or to others."

Update at 10 a.m. ET. "He Had A Clean Record":

The gunman "had a clean record" in the military and background checks of him "show no involvement with extremist organizations of any kind," Secretary of the Army John McHugh just said at the top of a previously scheduled Senate hearing. McHugh also told the lawmakers that the soldier had been prescribed multiple prescription drugs, including a sleep aid.

Our original post began with some of the day's headlines and rounded up the news:

We'll start with some of the morning's headlines and links to accounts about what happened Wednesday:

-- "Fort Hood Suffers Another Shooting Tragedy." (Morning Edition)

-- "Shooting forces victims of 2009 attack to relive the tragedy." (The Dallas Morning News)

-- "Fort Hood shooting comes less than 5 years after attack." (USA Today)

-- "Shootings frustrate U.S. military efforts to secure bases." (Reuters)

-- "Texans' hearts are once again very heavy." (CNN)

It was around 4 p.m. local time when the gunman reportedly opened fire in one building, got in a vehicle and fired more shots from it, then entered another building where he fired again. Officials say that at least one MP then confronted the gunman in a parking lot. Later, Gen. Milley said there were "several incidents of heroism ... including that female MP." Asked whether she fired her weapon, he said yes.

On Morning Edition, NPR's Tom Bowman said early reports indicate that the MP "drew her weapon," and that the gunman then pulled a handgun from under his shirt and "placed the gun to his head and killed himself."

The local Killeen Daily Herald has more:

"III Corps and Fort Hood commander Lt. Gen. Mark Milley said the shooter used a .45-caliber Smith and Wesson handgun, which he'd purchased recently. Milley said the soldier, who arrived at Fort Hood in February from another military installation in Texas, suffered from depression anxiety and other mental heath issues and was in the process of getting a diagnosis for post-traumatic stress disorder.

"Fort Hood officials did not release the name of the gunman Wednesday night pending notification of next of kin, but a Bell County sheriff's deputy identified him as 34-year-old Spc. Ivan Lopez.

"About 9:30 p.m., Milley said there was no indication the shooting was related to terrorism, but the investigation would leave nothing 'off the table.'

" 'We are not ruling anything out at this time,' he said."

NPR's Bowman adds that Lopez served in Iraq in 2011 and that there is "no indication he was wounded in combat," but that the soldier had apparently "self-reported a traumatic brain injury."

Our colleagues at KUT in Austin add this about those who were wounded:

"The region's only Level 1 trauma center, the Scott and White Memorial Hospital in Temple, Texas, has absorbed several of the Fort Hood casualties. The hospital has issued the following statement:

" 'We have accepted 9 patients, 8 are currently here and 1 will be arriving shortly at Scott & White Memorial Hospital. We currently have 7 male patients and 1 female patient that we continue to monitor. All patients are in the ICU, 3 are critical condition and 5 are in serious condition.' "

Wednesday brought back awful memories, of course. In November 2009, Army Maj. Nidal Hasan killed 13 people and wounded 32 others when he opened fire on the post. Hasan has been convicted and sentenced to death.

Note: As often happens when stories such as this are breaking, details about what occurred will likely change. We'll focus on reports from officials in a position to know about the investigation and news outlets with reliable sources. We'll update as warranted.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.