Ft. Hood Shooting Raises Questions Of Safety

Military officials are now questioning the safety of U.S. military installations and how to prevent future attacks.

Ft. Hood Shooting Raises Questions Of Safety
Flickr / broken thoughts

For the second time in five years, the men and women who serve at Fort Hood are in mourning after one of their own opened fire.

This time, 34-year-old specialist and Iraq War veteran Ivan Lopez shot into two buildings Wednesday, killing three and injuring more than a dozen others. It comes on the heels of a recent shooting at the Navy Yard last September which prompted calls for tighter security.

Neighbors say they saw no warning signs from the gunman or his family.

Xanderia Morris​: "Typical average family. They were always coming and going. They'd smile whenever they'd see someone and that was it."

But something inside Lopez snapped, and officials say he brought an unauthorized .45 caliber handgun like this from home and got it inside fort hood. But a pentagon spokesman said securing one of the nation's largest military bases poses unusual challenges.

Col. Steve Warren: "The idea of doing a 100 percent check on a military installation with 50 thousand people is frankly untenable."

For now, the Pentagon is leaving it up to local bases to decide whether or not to increase random screenings. And the secretary of the army told congress it never saw pending signs of violence from Lopez. Because of that, under current army regulations, commanders can't ask if service members own guns off base.

John McHugh: "We had no indication on the record of that examination that there was any sign of likely violence, either to himself or to others, no suicidal ideation. So the plan forward was to just continue to monitor and to treat as deemed appropriate."

But with no easy way to completely secure large military installations, Defense Department officials say its important to get better at behavioral threat assessment and spotting potential shooters before they strike.  

Mark Greenblatt for the Scripps National Bureau in Washington.