By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 3, 2014 - The Defense Department and the Army are working to determine why a soldier killed three others and wounded 16 before taking his own life yesterday at Fort Hood, Texas, a Pentagon spokesman said here today.
"Both DOD and the Army are focused on finding the root cause of this incident, comforting victims and assuring [them] our military communities are safe places to live and work," Army Col. Steve Warren told reporters.
Warren expressed DOD's condolences, as well as his own, to the service members, military families and civilian employees affected by the shooting.
"My heart is personally broken for my brothers and sisters at Fort Hood," he said. "We are certain the Fort Hood community will once again prove their resilience and let the world know [why it is] called, 'The Great Place.'"
Fort Hood officials have scheduled a news conference later today to provide more details about the incident, possibly including the alleged shooter's name. Details from his military records also are expected to be released at some point, Warren added, although it's unknown when that will occur.
Investigators at Fort Hood are talking to personnel at the gunman's previous duty station "to determine the facts surrounding his behavioral health status," the colonel said.
Yesterday's incident was the second mass shooting in less than five years at Fort Hood, Warren said, noting that the Defense Department has "poured a tremendous amount of resources, time, energy and money into examining these exact issues since 2009, and again after the [Washington] Navy Yard shooting."
Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, a psychiatrist, opened fire at Fort Hood on Nov. 5, 2009, killing 13 and injuring more than 30 others. A contract employee and military veteran entered the Washington Navy Yard and opened fire Sept. 16, killing three, injuring eight before turning the gun on himself.
"While we still have a long way to go and there's still room for improvement," Warren told reporters, "it is safe to say we've put a tremendous amount of resources against this problem."