By Heather Graham-Ashley, III Corps and Fort Hood Public AffairsApril 4, 2014
FORT HOOD, Texas (April 4, 2014) -- A shooting incident here Wednesday, claimed the lives of four Fort Hood Soldiers, including the alleged gunman, and injured another 16.
As the investigation into the shooting continues, III Corps and Fort Hood Commanding General Lt. Gen. Mark A. Milley said his focus is on those killed and wounded and their families.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to each of those injured and their families and the killed and their families," Milley said a few hours after the shooting. "Our focus now is to focus on the families of the injured and focus on the families of the killed, [and] ensure that they have the best care and counseling available."
At a press conference today, Milley identified the fallen Soldiers as Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Ferguson, Staff Sgt. Carlos Lazaney-Rodriguez and Sgt. Timothy Owens.
Ferguson, 39, from Mulberry, Fla., entered active-duty service July 1993, as a transportation management coordinator. He was assigned to the 49th Transportation Battalion (Movement Control), 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), where he served as a transportation supervisor. Ferguson's deployments include serving in Kuwait, from January to August 2003, and from October 2004 to September 2005; Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, from September 2009 to May 2010; and Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, from June 2012 to March 2013.
His awards and decorations include a Bronze Star Medal, three Meritorious Service Medals, five Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals, six Army Good Conduct Medals, two National Defense Service Medals, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, two Kosovo Campaign Medals with Bronze Service Star, Afghan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, the Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon with Numeral 3 device, Army Service Ribbon, four Overseas Service Ribbons, and two NATO Medals.
Lazaney-Rodriguez, 38, of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, entered active-duty service in February 1995, as a unit supply specialist. He was assigned to the 21st Combat Support Hospital, 1st Medical Brigade, since February 2012, where he served as a unit supply sergeant. Lazaney-Rodriguez deployed to Kuwait, from December 1998 to April 1999. He also deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, from April 2007 to April 2008, and from July 2009 to July 2010.
His awards and decorations include four Army Commendation Medals, three Army Achievement Medals, Army Superior Unit Award, six Army Good Conduct Medals, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with two Campaign Stars, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, two Overseas Service Ribbons, U.S. Army Basic Recruiter Badge-Silver with two Gold Achievement Stars, Combat Action Badge, U.S. Army Parachutist Badge, and Driver and Mechanic Badge.
Owens, 37, of Effingham, Ill., entered active-duty service in July 2004, as a motor transport operator. He was assigned to the 49th Trans. Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), where he served as a heavy vehicle driver. Owens deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, from January 2005 to December 2005, and to Kuwait, from January 2010 to December 2010.
His awards include three Army Commendation Medals, four Army Achievement Medals, two Army Good Conduct Medals, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Combat Action Badge, and Driver and Mechanic Badge.
The three fallen Soldiers will be memorialized at a ceremony scheduled for Wednesday, Milley said at the press conference Friday.
Of the 16 injured in the Wednesday incident, 10 have been treated and returned to duty. At press time, three Soldiers remain hospitalized at Scott & White Hospital in Temple, Texas, and three others in the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, at Fort Hood.
The alleged shooter, identified by Fort Hood officials as Spc. Ivan Lopez, 34, a motor transport operator with the 49th Trans. Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), shot and killed himself following a confrontation with a female military police officer, Milley said.
Lopez reported to Fort Hood in February, after previously serving at Fort Bliss, Texas.
In the midst of the tragic events of Wednesday, there have been stories of heroism emerging.
"There were several instances here of clear heroism," Milley said, noting the as-yet unidentified female MP who confronted the alleged shooter, an unnamed chaplain who broke a window to help fellow Soldiers escape a building during the shooting, and a Soldier who shielded others from gunfire.
Milley said he is confident the Soldiers, families and civilians in the Fort Hood community will rally together to get through this, as they have done in the past.
"Events in the past have taught us many things here at Fort Hood," Milley said. "We know the community is strong. We know that the community is resilient. We know the Soldiers and the civilians and the families of this fort who have served so bravely in combat over the last 13 years, in both Iraq and Afghanistan, are strong and will get through this."
More than 150 law enforcement officials representing local, state and federal agencies have been investigating the incident, Milley said.
During the press conference, U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division spokesman Chris Grey detailed the timeline of events.
The initial 911 call came in at approximately 4:16 p.m., Wednesday, Grey said, noting that law enforcement officers from Fort Hood Directorate of Emergency Services, military police officers from the 89th Military Police Brigade, CID and area police departments responded.
"Numerous reports of gunfire and wounded personnel were received and it continued at various locations which contributed to the chaos and confusion associated with the initial reports," Grey said, in reference to the initial reports of two shooters.
"The alleged shooter, Spc. Ivan Lopez, initially open fired with a Smith & Wesson .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun near the intersection of 72nd Street and Tank Destroyer Boulevard," Grey said. "The entire crime scene encompasses almost a two-city-block area."
The CID spokesman noted that law enforcement has credible information that Lopez was involved in a verbal altercation with Soldiers from his unit just prior to the incident.
"The subject proceeded to travel to two other nearby buildings entering those locations and opening fire," Grey continued. "In transit to those locations while in his personal vehicle, he indiscriminately fired at other Soldiers while moving from one location to another."
Lopez then encountered a responding military police officer and approached her and the two had a verbal exchange.
When Lopez brandished his weapon, the MP drew her service weapon and fired, Grey said, noting that it is not believed that Lopez was shot, but that information is being confirmed with the Armed Forces Medical Examiner.
"Based on witness statements and other testimonial evidence to date, the alleged shooter then placed his own firearm to his own head and fired one round, killing himself," Grey said, noting that the encounter is still under investigation.
"At this time, we have the one alleged subject connected these shootings and all evidence at this point in this investigation indicates that the subject acted alone in the actual shootings," Grey added. "We have no evidence thus far that contradicts that finding but it is critical to point out that we are not ruling anything in or out at this early stage of the investigation and we will continue to aggressively pursue any and all credible leads and information associated in this case."
He said no links have been found to any terrorism or extremist groups, but nothing has been ruled out at this point. The investigation is ongoing.