US NATIONAL NEWS|By KTLA-TV Channel 5 Los Angeles, CA
KILLEEN, Texas — Twelve people are dead and 31 wounded after soliders armed with M-16’s opened fire on the Fort Hood Army base.
One of the gunmen is among the dead. Two other soldiers are in custody.
An Army spokesman at the Pentagon says the shootings began about 1:30 p.m. Thursday at the sports dome, a personnel and medical processing center known as the Soldier Readiness Center.
The spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Nathan Banks says the second incident took place at the near by Howze Theater.
At the Soldier Readiness Center, soldiers who are about to be deployed or who are returning undergo medical screening – on average about 300-400 screened a day, Sgt. Rebekah Lampam, a spokeswoman at Fort Hood said.
Lampam said a graduation ceremony for soldiers who finished college courses while deployed was going on in the auditorium at the time of the shooting.
Authorities say all of the victims are active duty Army personnel.
Covering 339 square miles, Fort Hood is the largest active duty armored post in the United States. Home to about 52,000 troops as of earlier this year,
The base is home to nine schools – seven elementary schools and two middle schools – and all were on lockdown, said Killeen school spokesman Todd Martin.
Texas Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Tela Mange said Texas Rangers and state troopers were en route to Fort Hood to help seal the perimeter of the 108,000 acre base.
Fort Hood officially opened on Sept. 18, 1942, and was named in honor of Gen. John Bell Hood. It has been continuously used for armored training and is charged with maintaining readiness for combat missions.
Fort Hood is adjacent to the community of Killeen, and 60 miles northeast of Austin.
The sprawling complex is home to at least 4,929 active duty officers and 45,414 enlisted.
Civilian employees total nearly 9,000.
The base has seen other violence in recent years.
In September 2008, a 21-year-old 1st Cavalry Division soldier shot his lieutenant to death and then killed himself.
Spc. Jody Michael Wirawan of Eagle River, Alaska. shot himself to death after shooting 1st Lt. Robert Bartlett Fletcher, 24, of Jensen Beach, Fla. to death.