MCLB-ALBANY — In the wake of the deadly shooting Wednesday at Fort Hood, an Army base in Texas, officials at Marines Corps Logistics Base-Albany say no changes have been made to MCLB-Albany’s security posture.
In a news release Friday, Capt. Justin Jacobs, public affairs officer for MCLB-Albany, said the base had received several inquiries as to what measures it was taking in reaction to the Fort Hood shootings, where gunman Ivan Lopez killed three and wounded 16 before turning his .45-caliber handgun on himself when he was confronted by a military police officer.
“Although not physically affected here, first and foremost, our hearts and prayers go out to the victims and their families,” Jacobs said. “This was an example of a tragic event that all installation commanders do their best to prevent by staying vigilant in assessing and improving their security posture in an ever changing environment.
“At this time, MCLB Albany has not been directed by higher headquarters to change our security posture, but remains prepared to do that if directed.”
Army officials said Thursday that Lopez was being treated for depression and anxiety, and was being evaluated to determine whether he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“We have very strong evidence that he had a medical history that indicates unstable psychiatric or psychological conditions,” Lt. Gen. Mark Milley told reporters Thursday.
Milley said there was strong evidence that Lopez had a verbal altercation with at least one other soldier immediately before the shooting spree. Investigators had found no motive Friday and Milley said Thursday there was no indication that Lopez was targeting particular individuals.
U.S. Army Secretary John McHugh on Thursday said Lopez, who joined the service in 2008, had served two tours of duty abroad, including four months in Iraq in 2011. He had no direct involvement in combat and had not been wounded.
“He was undergoing a variety of treatments and diagnoses for mental health conditions, ranging from depression to anxiety to some sleep disturbance. He was prescribed a number of drugs to address those, including Ambien,” McHugh told a U.S. Senate committee hearing.
The shooting sent shockwaves through a Central Texas community still reeling from a 2009 attack during which a former army psychiatrist, Nidal Hasan, shot dead 13 people and wounded 32 others.Hasan was convicted of the killings and is waiting execution.
Lopez, originally from Puerto Rico, had recently bought the gun he used, a Smith & Wesson .45-caliber pistol, at Guns Galore, the same store in Killeen where Hasan had shopped.
While no changes had been made at MCLB-Albany, Jacobs said security levels could be adjusted if the need were to arise.
“… (A)t any time, the base commanding officer, with advice from his police chief, can direct the base to adjust its security posture based on local threat assessments to the installation,” Jacobs said.
MCLB-Albany spent time this week conducting drills that included security issues.
“… MCLB Albany recently completed Operation Twisting Thunder, a 30-hour emergency response exercise, which included possible breeches in security,” jacobs said. “This exercise, along with drills the base conducts regularly, is just one of the many ways it strengthens security.
“Additionally, our partnership with the local community, during this exercise and during daily operations, is key to continually being mindful and assessing the current situation.”
Meanwhile, Col. Donald Davis, commanding officer of the Albany Marine base, is urging vigilance.
“The commanding officer, and base officials, ask that everyone keep their eyes open for any suspicious behavior, throughout the community, and report it to the appropriate authority,” Jacobs noted. “This is a team effort within our Southwest Georgian community. We are one country, one Corps and one community.”