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US: Iraq war veteran at Fort Hood army base in Texas kills 3 and himself

Washington: A soldier opened fire today at an enormous US army base in Texas that was the scene of a deadly shooting rampage in 2009, killing three persons and wounding 16 others before taking his own life.

Barack Obama
US President Barack Obama makes a statement to the press on April 2, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois, on the shooting at the Fort Hood military base in Texas. Pic: AFP

The gunman, identified as Ivan Lopez, 34, opened fire at two locations in Fort Hood - inside a building housing a medical brigade and in a facility belonging to a transportation battalion - prompting authorities to order a lockdown.

The suspect, a soldier who had served in Iraq, "had behavioural health and mental health" issues, the Army post's commander Lt General Mark Milley said.

He said there was no known motive for the shooting. "There is no indication that this incident is related to terrorism, although we are not ruling anything out," he said.

Milley said the incident began at the administration building for the medical brigade. The suspect then moved by car to the transport battalion.

"He was confronted by a military police officer and died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head in a parking lot," he said.

Milley said the suspect was carrying a .45 calibre Smith and Wesson semi-automatic pistol bought recently in the local area and not registered with the base, as is required.

Another US official said the shooter was wearing combat fatigues. The lockdown was lifted at the base about five hours later.

US President Barack Obama expressed sorrow that tragedy had once again struck the base. "We're heartbroken that something like this might have happened again," the president said.

He promised to '"get to the bottom" of the latest incident. "We are going to do everything we can to make sure that the community at Fort Hood has what it needs to deal with the current situation, but also any potential aftermath," he said.
The suspect, who served in Iraq for four months in 2011, had arrived in Fort Hood only in February, having moved from another installation in Texas.

In 2009, Fort Hood was the scene of the worst mass shooting ever to take place at a military base in the US. It left 13 people dead and more than 30 injured.

The gunman, Major Nidal Hasan, a former army psychiatrist, was convicted by a military court and sentenced to death in August last year.

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