By David E. Poe, Fort Bliss MonitorSeptember 22, 2010
FORT BLISS, Texas (Sept. 22, 2010) - A 63-year-old El Paso man allegedly shot two female Army & Air Force Exchange Service Shoppette employees inside the 24-hour store on Fort Bliss Monday afternoon.
Bliss law enforcement officers arrived on the scene within three minutes and fired upon the gunman, reported as Steven Kropf of El Paso, who died from his injuries. Also dead is Bettina Maria Goins of El Paso. A second victim remains hospitalized and her name is being withheld due to privacy concerns.
The Fort Bliss commanding general said lessons were learned by Bliss security officials from the tragic shooting incident in November 2009 at Fort Hood, Texas.
"An example of that was our 'first responders and first shooter's' exercise we held in July," said Maj. Gen. Dana J. H. Pittard, as he spoke to the media Tuesday. "We had a Fort Hood team here to be a part of that - that was very helpful."
Col. Joseph A. Simonelli Jr., Fort Bliss' garrison commander, spoke to the media soon after the incident occurred and credited the professionalism of post and exterior law enforcement in their handling of it.
"I'm very proud of all the agencies that were involved," said Simonelli. "Our law enforcement agents took it upon themselves to react immediately and aggressively and I think that's the main reason why this didn't escalate further."
Pittard described the incident as a random, isolated tragedy, saying Bliss is a safe place and will continue to be.
"We want to make sure our Family members, civilians and Soldiers feel safe here on Fort Bliss," said Pittard, "and they should because Fort Bliss has one of the best safety records in the country and remains one of the safest places to live and work."
With assistance from U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division and other Bliss law-enforcement teams, the FBI is leading the investigation.