Toll Mounts In Fort Hood Shootings
MICHELE NORRIS, Host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.
ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:
I'm Robert Siegel.
And we begin this hour with a story that is still unfolding. A shooting this afternoon at Fort Hood, Texas. Twelve people have been killed and 31 wounded, maybe more. Lieutenant General Bob Cone just came out at Fort Hood and made a statement about the incident. We're going to play you now a portion of what he had to say.
NORRIS: A shooter entered what we call the Soldier Readiness facility, where soldiers who are preparing to deploy go for last minute medical checkups and dental treatment, et cetera. Shooter opened fire and essentially, due to the quick response of the police forces, was killed. And at this time, the numbers that we're looking at are 12 dead and 31 wounded and they are dispersed among the local hospitals here in the Central Texas area.
Again, the extent of injuries varies significantly. And, again, we're getting great cooperation from the Central Texas medical facilities. As I said, the shooter was killed. He was a soldier. We since then have apprehended two additional soldiers that are suspects. And I would go into the point that there were eyewitness accounts that there may have been more than one shooter. They tracked the suspected individuals to an adjacent facility and they were apprehended. They are soldiers, but, again, they are suspects at this time, and we're looking into that.
SIEGEL: So, Lieutenant General Robert Cone, the commander at Fort Hood, speaking about 10 minutes ago. NPR's Mary Louise is tracking the story, Mary Louise Kelly, excuse me. She joins us now in the studio. Some of the things we don't know, first of all, are the identity of the gunmen or for that matter, of the victims or of the two other people who've been apprehended. What do we know?
MARY LOUISE KELLY: So, what we know is that this situation started to unfold about two and half hours ago. We're talking 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time, 1:30 in the afternoon local time at Fort Hood in Texas. We know, as we just heard, General Cone briefing there that a shooter began firing shots at the soldiers' readiness facility on post at Fort Hood. Police killed him and he is dead. There are two more suspects, as we heard, who are in custody now, all of them are soldiers.
We heard - we were told that two handguns were involved in the incident, at least one police officer, civilian police officer, is apparently among the dead and then these dozens of wounded who are currently being treated in hospitals.
SIEGEL: This question, very significant one, was there more than one shooter?
LOUISE KELLY: Well, what we're told right now is one shooter, but at least two suspects who were perhaps involved in some way and obviously that is hugely significant because often what happens, sadly, in these mass killings is that one disgruntled person is behind them. Obviously, if more than one is involved, it suggests that there were some sort of plot, some sort of scheme here among multiple people, all of them, again, apparently, soldiers.
SIEGEL: And, again, this is all very vague as to whether there was any such conspiracy.
LOUISE KELLY: Very early stages and we're told they do not have a confirmation of what the motive may have been at this point - what was behind this attack.
SIEGEL: Mary Louise, tell us a bit about Fort Hood.
LOUISE KELLY: It is huge sprawling post. It is, in fact, the largest U.S. military installation in the world, so, quite significant to have this attack unfolding there. It's, of course, an Army post. It's where troops are deploying from - one of the places where U.S. troops are deploying to Iraq from and specifically it's in Killeen, Texas, which if you know Texas is about halfway between Austin and Waco. And the situation there still very fluid. We should keep stressing the base is still on lockdown. They are still trying to figure out exactly what's going on. They're telling people at Fort Hood, stay inside. Let us see what's going with the situation, get it under control.
SIEGEL: And today there was actually a college graduation ceremony scheduled for two o'clock. It was to recognize soldiers and their families who hadn't had the opportunity to participate in college commencement exercises during the past year because they'd been deployed for other reasons.
LOUISE KELLY: That's correct. And we don't know whether this was linked in some way to that or not at this point.
SIEGEL: Mary Louise Kelly, thank you very much.
LOUISE KELLY: You're welcome.