A gunman killed 12 people and injured 31 more early this afternoon at Fort Hood, Texas, the Army said.
“I am deeply saddened by the tragic events today at Fort Hood. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the fallen, the wounded, and all those touched by this incident,” Defense Secretary Robert Gates said, American Forces Press Service reported.
“There is little we can say at this point to alleviate the pain or answer the many questions this event raises, but I can pledge that the Department of Defense will do everything in its power to help the Fort Hood community get through these difficult times,” Gates said.
Media identified the shooter as Maj. Malik Nadal Hasan, a mental health professional and a Muslim; Hasan was killed by authorities. The shooting “appears to be the worst mass shooting at a U.S. military base,” The Associated Press reported.
“These are men and women who have made the selfless and courageous decision to risk, and at times, give their lives to protect the rest of us on a daily basis,” President Obama said, according to American Forces Press Service.
“It’s difficult enough when we lose these brave Americans in battles overseas,” the president said. “It is horrifying that they should come under fire at an Army base on American soil.”
The shootings took place at the fort’s Soldier Readiness Processing Center and Howze Theater, American Forces Press Service reported. Fox News Channel reported that Hasan did not want to deploy to Iraq and apparently retained an attorney to contest his deployment.
“We are trying to make sense of all this,” Fox News quoted Hasan’s cousin as saying. “He wasn’t even someone who enjoyed going to the firing range.”