WASHINGTON (Army News Service, April 3, 2014) -- President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama paused at the White House today to pay tribute to the shooting victims at Fort Hood, Texas.
"We join that entire community in honoring those who lost their lives. Every single one of them was an American patriot," said the president at the start of an event for Sochi Olympic and Paralympic athletes.
"We stand with their families and their loved ones as they grieve. We are thinking about those who are wounded. We're there to support them," he said.
The Soldiers at Fort Hood have already made "extraordinary sacrifices for us each and every day for our freedom," the president said.
"During the course of a decade of war, many of them have been on multiple tours of duty. To see unspeakable, senseless violence happen in a place where they're supposed to feel safe, home base, is tragic," he said
As the nation learns more about what happened and why, "we're going to make sure that we're doing everything in our power to keep our troops safe and to keep our troops strong, not just on the battlefield but also when they come home," he said.
Service members are an inspiration that makes the nation proud, the president said.
"They put on the uniform and then they take care of us, and we've got to make sure that when they come home we take care of them," he said.
Mrs. Obama said the shooting was "yet another devastating tragedy" for the Fort Hood community, which saw a shooting rampage in 2009, in which 13 people were killed and a number of others injured.
"We just want to make sure that folks there know that our thoughts and prayers are with all of those who lost loved ones and friends, as well as those that were injured," she said.
Many of the Olympic athletes being honored at the White House event are veterans themselves, she said, and "when something like this happens, it touches all of us."
She said she and the president are "torn apart" over tragedies such as the one at Fort Hood.
"Today, as we celebrate the Olympic spirit, we remember that the same spirit -- the spirit of hard work and team work -- is shared by our military men and women, and we stand with them today and every day," she said.
Fort Hood's Directorate of Emergency Services reported that on April 2, around 4:00 p.m. (Central), a Soldier assigned to 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), fired shots at individuals in the 1st Medical Brigade area of Fort Hood.
Fort Hood and III Corps Commander Lt. Gen. Mark Milley said medical officials have confirmed four dead, including the alleged shooter, who died of a suspected self-inflicted gunshot wound. Sixteen people were injured.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the deceased, injured and their families during this difficult time," Milley said.
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