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Fort Hood shootings press conference 11:30 a.m. today

Staff Reports

Secretary of the Army John McHugh and Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. will hold a press conference on the Fort Hood shootings at 11:30 a.m. Pacific time today. The press event will be preceded by an Army-wide moment of silence in honor of the Fort Hood victims, family members and loved ones.

At approximately 1:30 p.m., Thursday, Maj. Hasan Nidal Malik allegedly fired shots into the Soldiers Readiness Processing Center on Fort Hood, resulting in 13 dead numerous injured. As of this morning, 27 remained hospitalized.

In an early morning press conference, Lt. Gen. Bob Cone, III Corps and Fort Hood commander, confirmed that the major was injured but still alive and in stable condition. He is in custody.

Cone said the female officer first responder who shot Hasan was injured at the scene but is in stable condition at an area hospital.

The incident took place near a theater where 138 college graduates were receiving their diplomas. The Soldiers in the theater where able to gain control of the scene and no one in the theater was hurt.

Cone said his number one priority was to care for the wounded. Army and Federal Bureau of Investigation officials are investigating the incident.

The victims were largely military. No children were involved. The commander expressed his heartfelt condolences the families and friends of the victims.

From the reports of eyewitnesses, Cone said, the soldiers – “many of them combat lifesavers” — reacted instantaneously, ripping off parts of their own clothing to treat the wounded.

“I credit the first responders,” he said. “God bless these Soldiers and Department of Army civilians. As horrible as this was, it could have been much worse.”

The suspect is believed to have used two handguns in the shooting, one a semiautomatic, Cone said. And in responding to a question, “As a matter of practice, we do not carry weapons on Fort Hood,” he said. “This is our home.”

However, Cone said, “We will increase our security presence here in the coming days.”

The FBI is working the investigation, along with military and other law enforcement, he said. The base was on lockdown until 7 p.m., a base spokesman said.

For now, Cone said, Fort Hood officials are focused on caring for the wounded, securing the base, notifying victims’ families and providing grief counseling. A family hotline is available to obtain information at (254)288-7570.

The Central Texas base is the military’s largest, covering some 340 square miles and is home to 40,000 soldiers. And, according to its Web site, is known as “The Great Place” for its quality of life for soldiers and their families.

The Record-Courier has received no report that someone from Western Nevada was hurt or killed in the shooting. Several soldiers from the Douglas County region are or have been stationed at Fort Hood.