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FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) — A soldier opened fire Wednesday on fellow service members at the Fort Hood military base, killing three people and wounding 16 before committing suicide at the same post where more than a dozen people were slain in a 2009 attack, authorities said.
 
The shooter apparently walked into a building and began firing a .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol. He then got into a vehicle and continued firing before entering another building and kept shooting.
 
He was eventually confronted by military police in a parking lot. As he came within 20 feet of an officer, the gunman put his hands up but then reached under his jacket and pulled out his gun. The officer drew her own weapon, and the suspect put his gun to his head and pulled the trigger a final time, according to Lt. Gen. Mark A. Milley, senior officer on the base.
 
The gunman, who served in Iraq for four months in 2011, had sought help for depression, anxiety and other problems. Before the attack, he had been undergoing an assessment to determine whether he had post-traumatic stress disorder, Milley said.
 
The married suspect had arrived at Fort Hood in February from another base. He was taking medication, and there were reports that he had complained after returning from Iraq about suffering a traumatic brain injury, Milley said. The commander did not elaborate.
 
The gunman was never wounded in action, according to military records, Milley said.
 
There was no indication the attack was related to terrorism, Milley said.
 
The military declined to identify the gunman until his family members had been notified. Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said the suspect was named Ivan Lopez but offered no other details.
 
The gunman's weapon had been purchased recently in the local area and was not registered to be on the base, Milley said.
 
Late Wednesday, investigators had already started looking into whether his combat experience caused lingering psychological trauma. Among the possibilities they planned to explore was whether a fight or argument on base triggered the attack.
 
"We have to find all those witnesses, the witnesses to every one of those shootings, and find out what his actions were, and what was said to the victims," said a federal law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the case by name.
 
The official said authorities would begin by speaking with Lopez's wife and expected to search his home and any computers he owned.
 
The injured were taken to the base hospital and other local hospitals. At least three of the nine patients at Scott and White Hospital in Temple were listed in critical condition.
 
Wednesday's attack immediately revived memories of the shocking 2009 assault on Fort Hood, which was the deadliest attack on a domestic military installation in U.S. history. Thirteen people were killed and more than 30 wounded.
 
Until an all-clear siren sounded hours after Wednesday's shooting began, relatives of soldiers waited anxiously for news about their loved ones.
 
"The last two hours have been the most nerve-wracking I've ever felt," said Tayra DeHart, 33, who had earlier heard from her husband that he was safe but was waiting to hear from him again.
 
Brooke Conover, whose husband was on base at the time of the shooting, said she found out about it while checking Facebook. She immediately called her husband, Staff Sgt. Sean Conover.
 
"I just want him to come home," Conover said.
 
President Barack Obama vowed that investigators would get to the bottom of the shooting.
 
In a hastily arranged statement in Chicago, Obama reflected on the sacrifices that troops stationed at Fort Hood have made — including enduring multiple tours to Iraq and Afghanistan.
 
"They serve with valor. They serve with distinction, and when they're at their home base, they need to feel safe," Obama said. "We don't yet know what happened tonight, but obviously that sense of safety has been broken once again."
 
The president spoke in the same room of a steakhouse where he had just met with about 25 donors at a previously scheduled fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee.
 
The November 2009 attack happened inside a crowded building where soldiers were waiting to get vaccines and routine paperwork after recently returning from deployments or preparing to go to Afghanistan and Iraq.
 
Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan was convicted and sentenced to death last year in that mass shooting. He said he acted to protect Islamic insurgents abroad from American aggression.
 
According to testimony during Hasan's trial last August, Hasan walked inside carrying two weapons and several loaded magazines, shouted "Allahu Akbar!" — Arabic for "God is great!" — and opened fire with a handgun.
 
The rampage ended when Hasan was shot in the back by Fort Hood police officers. He was paralyzed from the waist down and is now on death row at the military prison at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.
 
After that shooting, the military tightened security at bases nationwide. Those measures included issuing security personnel long-barreled weapons, adding an insider-attack scenario to their training and strengthening ties to local law enforcement. The military also joined an FBI intelligence-sharing program aimed at identifying terror threats.
 
In September, a former Navy man opened fire at the Washington Navy Yard, leaving 13 people dead, including the gunman. After that shooting, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered the Pentagon to review security at all U.S. defense installations worldwide and examine the granting of security clearances that allow access to them.
 
Asked Wednesday about security improvements in the wake of the shootings, Hagel said, "Obviously when we have these kinds of tragedies on our bases, something's not working."
Published in National News

   HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Investigators are planning to release a long-awaited report on the Newtown school shooting, nearly a year after the massacre of 20 children and six women inside Sandy Hook Elementary School.

   The summary report by the lead investigator, State's Attorney Stephen Sedensky III, could provide some of the first official answers to questions about the history of the gunman and the police response to one of the worst school shootings in American history.

   The Dec. 14 shooting plunged the small New England community into mourning, elevated gun safety to the top of the agenda for President Barack Obama and led states across the country to re-evaluate laws on issues including school safety.

   The report expected Monday afternoon will not include the full evidence file of Connecticut State Police, which is believed to total thousands of pages. The decision to continue withholding the bulk of the evidence is stirring new criticism of the secrecy surrounding the investigation.

   Dan Klau, a Hartford attorney who specializes in First Amendment law, said the decision to release a summary report before the full evidence file is a reversal of standard practice and one of the most unusual elements of the investigation.

   "What I found troubling about the approach of the state's attorney is that from my perspective, he seems to have forgotten his job is to represent the state of Connecticut," Klau said. "His conduct in many instances has seemed more akin to an attorney in private practice representing Sandy Hook families."

   Sedensky said he could not comment.

   Twenty-year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother inside their Newtown home before driving to his former elementary school, where he fired off 154 shots with a Bushmaster .223-caliber rifle within five minutes. He killed himself with a handgun as police arrived.

   Warrants released in March detailed an arsenal of weapons found inside the Lanza home. But authorities have not provided details on the police response to the shooting, any mental health records for Lanza and whether investigators found any clues to a possible motive for the rampage.

   Sedensky has gone to court to fight release of the 911 tapes from the school and resisted calls from Connecticut's governor to divulge more information sooner.

   The withholding of 911 recordings, which are routinely released in other cases, has been the subject of a legal battle between The Associated Press and Sedensky before the state's Freedom of Information Commission, which ruled in favor of the AP, and now Connecticut's court system. A hearing is scheduled Monday in New Britain Superior Court on whether the judge can hear the recordings as he considers an appeal.

Published in National News
Friday, 20 September 2013 03:45

11, including girl, 3, shot in Chicago park

   CHICAGO (AP) — Eleven people, including a 3 year old child, were injured late Thursday when someone opened fire on people in a park located in Chicago's Back of the Yards neighborhood.

   Chicago Fire Department officials said the child was in critical condition. Two other victims were also in critical condition, officials said.

   Officer Amina Greer said the shooting occurred shortly after 10 p.m. Thursday. According to Greer, at least 10 ambulances responded to the scene, transporting victims to several area hospitals.

   A witness, Julian Harris, told the Chicago Sun-Times that dreadlocked men fired at him from a gray sedan before turning toward Cornell Square Park and firing at people in the area. He said his 3-year-old nephew was wounded in the cheek.

   "They hit the light pole next to me, but I ducked down and ran into the house," he said. "They've been coming round here looking for people to shoot every night, just gang-banging stuff. It's what they do."

   Authorities said no one had been taken into custody in connection with the shooting.

   Francis John, 70, said she was in her apartment when the shooting occurred. She said went down to see what was going on and "a lot of youngsters were running scared." She said she was surprised by what had happened, saying she has lived in the neighborhood for 30 years.

   She told the Sun-Times there hasn't been much gun violence in the neighborhood in recent years, adding the neighborhood went from good to bad 10 years ago, to better recently.

Published in National News

   FEDERAL WAY, Wash. (AP) — Police say five people are dead in a shooting at an apartment complex south of Seattle, including a suspect who was shot by officers responding to the chaotic scene.

   Federal Way police spokeswoman Cathy Schrock says officers responded to a 9:30 p.m. Sunday emergency call in Federal Way of shots being fired.

   Arriving police spotted two injured men on the ground in a parking lot and one of them reached for a gun as the officers moved in to assist them.

   Schrock says officers then opened fire. The man was killed but it wasn't immediately clear if it was from police gunfire.

   The other man one the ground and another man in the parking lot were found dead.

   In a search of the complex, police found yet another man dead in one apartment and a slain woman in another.

   There was no immediate word what set off the gunfire.

Published in National News

   BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) - Serbia's health officials say 13 people have been killed when a man went on a shooting spree in a village near Belgrade.

   Belgrade emergency hospital spokeswoman Nada Macura said the 60 year old man identified only as Ljubisa B. used a gun to kill six men, six women and a child. The motives of the Tuesday shooting were not immediately given.

   Macura says the man than tried to kill himself and his wife, who both remain severely injured. Another person was also injured.

   The apparently random killings happened in the village of Velika Ivanca, some 50 kilometers (30 miles) southeast of Belgrade.

   Macura says that the killer was apparently not a deranged person.

   Police are investigating.

Published in National News
St. Louis police are hoping education can help employers and schools prevent mass shootings on their grounds. So they've arranged for an expert to conduct a pair of free seminars Friday - one for business and one for educators.

The department-sponsored sessions will be conducted by police Major Joe Spiess. Spiess began studying mass shootings in 2010 after the ABB shooting in north St. Louis that left four people dead, including the gunman.

Spiess told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that his research led him to focus on what he calls the "Mr. Uncomfortable" who exist in almost every workplace or school. Spiess acknowledges that most "Mr. Uncomfortables" don't lash out, but he says, ignoring one can be deadly.

Spiess recommends using committees to handle anonymous reports about potential problems and installing panic alarms.

The seminars will be Friday, Febreuary 15 at Ameren corporate headquarters on Chouteau. The Workplace violence prevention session is from 8:00 a.m. to noon. A second seminar on school violence prevention will be held from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013 is the registration deadline. Space is limited.

To register, send an e-mail to registration@slmpd.org, specifying which session and listing place of employment and supervisor's name and contact information.
Published in Around Town
Friday, 08 February 2013 02:16

Kirkwood remembers 2008 mass shootings

The city of Kirkwood continues to remember the lives lost in a mass shooting five years ago, even as officials work to move the city forward.

A quirk of the calendar put Thursday night's City Council meeting on the five year anniversary of the Kirkwood City Hall shootings.

Before the meeting people gathered outside city hall and held hands. Church bells tolled seven times -- once for each of the six victims, and the shooter.

The massacre on February 7th, 2008 had claimed the lives Mayor Mike Swoboda ((swuh-BOH-duh)), council members Connie Karr and Michael Lynch, Public Works Director Ken Yost ((YOHST)), Police Sergeant William Biggs and Officer Tom Ballman. The shooter, Charles "Cookie" Thornton was also killed.

Last night's council meeting began with a simple commemoration. Mayor Arthur McDonnell read the names of the victims, and offered a prayer. A moment of silence followed, then it was business as usual.
Published in Local News

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