While stressing it’s too early to speculate on the cause of Wednesday’s deadly shooting at Fort Hood, the White House said there is “work that remains to be done” to ensure the nation’s veterans have the care and treatment they need.
White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters Thursday that President Obama continues to receive regular updates about the shooting, which left four dead, 16 others injured and brought back haunting memories of the 2009 massacre that left claimed 13 lives on the same military base.
Mr. Carney said the Department of Defense will lead an investigation into the tragedy and that the administration will “utilize every resource” to get to the bottom of what happened.
The alleged gunman, Spc. Ivan Lopez, who served four months in Iraq in 2011, reportedly had behavioral and mental-health issues and was being treated for depression.
Mr. Carney wouldn’t draw a correlation between the shooting and mental illness among veterans, but more broadly said the issue is a top priority.
“This administration has been committed to upholding our sacred trust with America’s veterans, its wounded warriors and their families. Is there more to be done? Absolutely. There is work that remains to be done,” Mr. Carney said. “After a decade of war, we need to be very mindful in this country that even as those wars end, what we owe our veterans does not end, and the president is personally very mindful of this and has made clear to his administration and his team here at the White House that this is a high priority issue.”
The president learned of the shooting while at a Democratic party fundraiser in Chicago on Wednesday night. After the event, he delivered a brief statement from the site of the fundraiser, the Chicago Cut Steakhouse.
While returning home on Air Force One, Mr. Obama convened a conference call with the FBI, the Department of Defense and his national security team, the White House said.
“The president will continue to receive updates as new information becomes available,” Mr. Carney said.