Report praises Fort Hood’s response to April rampage


FORT HOOD — A report on the April 2 shooting praised the installation’s response to the tragic incident that left four dead and 16 wounded.

The report, released last week, included a detailed breakdown of Fort Hood security measures, as well as its actions during and after the shooting.

“Many other soldiers, military police and first responders — too numerous to recognize here — acted with courage and resolve,” wrote Lt. Gen. Joseph E. Martz, who led the team that created the report.

The report credited the installation’s swift response to the 2014 shooting to lessons learned in the aftermath of the Nov. 5, 2009, shooting on post.

Responders prepared

In the wake of the 2009 shooting, in which former Army Maj. Nidal Hasan killed 13 people and injured more than 30, the Army issued new requirements for active-shooter training.

According to the report, Fort Hood exceeded those training requirements.

“Based on the 2009 Fort Hood shooting, Fort Hood developed a comprehensive approach to manage and respond to a complex emergency,” the report stated.

That preparation included conducting regular training for its military and civilian police forces. The training included weekly “table-top” exercises, as well as monthly live active-shooter-scenario training.

In fact, the report stated Fort Hood was conducting one of those monthly exercises a week before the April 2 shooting. Participants in that included active-shooting “rehearsal” training with Fort Hood’s Special Response Team.

The report also noted several other changes between the 2009 shooting and the 2014 shooting, which included increased coordination with local law enforcement agencies, such as the Killeen Police Department, and the purchase of vests for military police to make them more identifiable in emergency situations.

Room for Improvement

While the report lauded Fort Hood’s response to the 2014 shooting, it also noted some improvements in post security could be made, particularly in vetting visitors and contractors before they are allowed on post.

According to the report, military installations are required to screen visitors and contractors using the National Crime Information Center, a federal database used by law enforcement.

However, Fort Hood was using another, unauthorized program to check the backgrounds of civilians and contractors seeking access to the installation.

Fort Hood is not alone in its noncompliance. The report stated only half of installations use the required NCIC database for criminal history checks. The report blamed a lack of resources and manpower at visitor access centers for the noncompliance.

While using the NCIC database would bring Fort Hood in line with Defense Department requirements, the 2014 shooter, 34-year-old Spc. Ivan Lopez, would not have been vetted each time he came on post because he was an active-duty soldier.

Even after a painstakingly detailed review of actions before, during and after the 2014 shooting, the report stressed it was the actions of the shooter himself that were the primary cause of the tragedy.

“Lopez’s targeted and random violence toward completely innocent soldiers is inexcusable,” the report stated. “Regardless of anyone else’s shortcomings in the matter.”

Originally posted January 30, 2015 by The Killeen Daily Herald