Fort Hood Shootings
Backstory and Context
On July 31, 2009, Army psychiatrist Nidal Malik Hasan entered a gun
store and bought a semi-automatic pistol, the pistol that he would use in the
deadliest attack on a military base in history. Hasan entered his workplace at
Fort Hood on November 5, 2009, and took a seat at an empty table, bowing his
head in prayer. He then screamed "Allah Akbar!” and started firing his
weapon. Several fellow soldiers tried to charge him, but he wounded or killed
them. Hasan also shot at police outside the building as well as soldiers and
civilians that were running from the gunshots. Sergeant Mark Todd commanded
Hasan to stop shooting, but Hasan turned and fired at him. Todd fired shots in
return, hitting Hasan and causing him to collapse on the ground. As the nurses
and doctors arrived to help the wounded, they told the media that blood was
ubiquitous, which made standing extremely difficult. Police found 146
shells inside the building and 68 shells outside the building. Hasan’s
coworkers described him as a loner and a devout Muslim. Although some
believe Hasan's actions were a terrorist attack, the military deemed Hasan’s
actions as workplace violence because Hasan exhibited mental illness behavior.
The shooting rendered Hasan paralyzed from the waist down, and he is
currently on military death row.
Five years later, Fort Hood’s military personnel fell victim to another shooter. On April 02, 2014, Army Specialist Ivan Lopez opened fire at the transportation administrative office. Lopez targeted workers at this office because they did not accept his request for a ten-day leave. When Lopez challenged this decision, he had an altercation with several of the office workers. This altercation resulted in his shooting multiple people. After Lopez had fired several rounds in the office building, he continued his vicious attack by shooting at pedestrians walking along the street as well as drivers. Lopez’s reign of terror concluded when a female soldier shot him. Before the authorities could arrest Lopez, he committed suicide. Following the shooting, the authorities discovered that Lopez suffered from severe psychiatric issues as well as post-traumatic stress disorder. Lieutenant General Mark Milley, the post's commanding general, told CNN, "We have very strong evidence that he had a medical history that indicates an unstable psychiatric or psychological condition." His mental illness combined with his severe financial troubles contributed to his reasons for committing this terrible act. In addition, Lopez purchased his weapon from Guns Galore, the same store where Nidal Hasan bought his murder weapon in 2009. Fortunately, Fort Hood invested in an updated emergency alert system following the 2009 shooting. This modern system is responsible for saving many lives in the 2014 attack because it provided a clear warning as soon as the shootings started.
Nidal Hassan and Ivan Lopez transformed one of America's best military bases into crime scenes on two separate occasions. By killing seventeen innocent people, these shooters turned Fort Hood into a domestic war zone.