A doctor treating victims of the shooting at Fort Hood said Thursday that he hopes "the acts of madness by two individuals” don't taint the nation's perception of a military base thousands of individuals call home.
“It’s really difficult to understand why these acts of madness occur,” said Dr. Matthew Davis, trauma medical director at Scott & White Hospital, which was treating nine of the 16 wounded victims.
On Wednesday afternoon, a gunman identified as Ivan Lopez, opened fire in one building on the military base using a .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol. He then got into a vehicle and drove to another building where he fired additional shots. Authorities say that Lopez, a 34-year-old serviceman struggling with mental health issues, then shot himself.
Davis said three patients remained in critical condition Thursday morning. Six other patients, who were brought to the hospital in serious condition, may be upgraded to fair later.
"This is obviously a fairly high velocity weapon and can inflict a fairly large amount of damage upon patients and we saw that evident last night," he said.
Patients were treated from everything from superficial wounds to serious injuries to the neck, chest and abdomen.
Davis’s team at the Temple, Texas, medical center also treated many of the victims in a shooting five years ago at the base. The shootings were difficult to grasp for many hospital employees, who work very closely with the military community, Davis said.
“Clearly, we think highly of Fort Hood. There are tens of thousands of soldiers that rotate through there. There are tens of thousands who call that home," he said. "So I don’t think this is an indictment of Fort Hood itself based on the acts of madness by two individuals, but it certainly is concerning, especially for those of us that are close to the military and their family.”
In 2009, Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan opened fire on a group of soldiers at the Texas installation, killing 13 and wounding more than 30 people.
President Barack Obama, speaking from a fundraising trip in Chicago, said Thursday's shooting "reopened the pain of what happened at Fort Hood five years ago."
"We're heartbroken that something like this might have happened again," he said, pledging to "get to the bottom of exactly what happened.”