As investigators work to unravel what led an Iraq War veteran to open fire Wednesday at Fort Hood, killing three people and wounding 16 others before turning the gun on himself, Minnesotans with connections to a previous shooting at the Texas military base are speaking out.
“It’s like déjà vu. It just brought back memories of that day on Nov. 5,” Shoua Her told WCCO.
The North St. Paul woman lost her husband, Pvt. 1st Class Kham Xiong, in a 2009 mass shooting at Fort Hood.
“All that pain, all those memories just flooded right back. Words just can’t describe how I’m feeling right now.”
In the 2009 attack on the military base, Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan opened fire in a crowded building after, court records show, shouting “Allahu Akbar!" - Arabic for "God is great!"
That shooting left 13 people dead and more than three dozen people wounded, and was considered the deadliest attack on a domestic military installation in U.S. history, the Associated Press reports.
Hasan was convicted last year for the shooting. He now sits on death row at the military prison at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.
So far authorities have not found evidence of links to terrorism in Wednesday’s Fort Hood shooting.
But the attack has painful similarities to the 2009 attack.
Her told WCCO her heart goes out to the families connected to this week’s shooting. She says she understands what victims’ relatives are going through.
“Anxiety, panic attacks, the agony, the fear to hear how your loved one is, the condition,” she says.
People injured in the shooting remain hospitalized with conditions ranging from critical to serious.
Minnesota Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar expressed her shock over the shooting in a tweet.
“We lost a Minnesotan in the last Fort Hood shooting and I was there for the memorial….my heart aches for the victims’ families.”
The gunman has been identified as Ivan Lopez, who served in Iraq for four months in 2011.
Military officials say before the attack Lopez was undergoing an assessment to determine whether he had post-traumatic stress disorder, The Associated Press reports.
Fort Hood's senior officer, Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, says the gunman had sought help for depression, anxiety and other problems.
New details emerged Thursday indicating that while the gunman was under psychiatric care, he showed no signs of violence or suicidal tendencies, the secretary of the U.S. Army said.
Investigators are looking into whether the man's combat experience had caused lingering psychological trauma.
The National Center for PTSD, Department of Veterans Affairs estimates around 20 percent of military veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars struggle with post traumatic stress disorder.
The agency says at least 10 percent of Gulf War veterans and 30 percent of Vietnam veterans also have PTSD.
Among the possibilities investigators planned to explore in the Fort Hood shooting was whether a fight or argument on the base triggered the attack.
"We have to find all those witnesses, the witnesses to every one of those shootings, and find out what his actions were, and what was said to the victims," says a federal law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity, because he was not authorized to discuss the case by name.
President Obama spoke after the attack, vowing a complete investigation.
The president said this week’s shooting "reopens the pain" from the shooting at Fort Hood five years ago.
“We’re heartbroken that something like this might have happened again. And I don’t want to comment on the facts until I know exactly what has happened, but for now, I would just hope that everybody across the country is keeping the families and the community at Fort Hood in our thoughts and in our prayers.”
Watch the president’s speech.