US & Canada

US President Obama honours Fort Hood shooting victims

President Barack Obama appeared at Fort Hood, Texas, on 9 April 2014
Image caption Obama said the US must do more to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill

President Barack Obama has attended his second memorial for victims of mass shootings at Fort Hood Army base, saying it "tears at wounds still raw".

He honoured three soldiers killed and 16 wounded at the Texas base on 2 April when Specialist Ivan Lopez, 34, opened fire before taking his own life.

The base was also the scene of a 2009 rampage in which 13 soldiers were killed and 32 wounded.

"We've been here before," Mr Obama said.

"We must honour their lives... with renewed commitment to keep our troops safe not just in battle but at home," Mr Obama said of Sgt First Class Daniel Ferguson, 39, Staff Sgt Carlos Lazaney-Rodriguez, 38, and Sgt Timothy Owens, 37.

"Once more, soldiers who survived foreign warzones were struck down here at home, where they're supposed to be safe."

The US leader, joined by First Lady Michelle Obama, also said the nation must do more to counsel those with mental illness and to keep firearms "out of the hands of those who are having such deep difficulties".

On 2 April, Lopez argued with a supervisor who denied his request for family leave, then walked into one of the buildings of the Fort Hood base and opened fire with a .45-calibre semi-automatic pistol.

He then got into a vehicle and continued firing before entering another building and opening fire again. He was eventually stopped by military police, shooting himself in the head when confronted by a female officer in the car park.

Image caption Army Specialist Ivan Lopez was reportedly being assessed for post-traumatic stress disorder

Officials have confirmed Lopez was being treated for depression and anxiety. He was also undergoing evaluation for post-traumatic stress disorder following service in Iraq.

Fort Hood was also the scene of the deadliest attack on a domestic military installation in US history.

Maj Nidal Hasan was sentenced to death last September for the November 2009 shooting, and the building where it occurred has only recently been demolished to make way for a memorial.

Another US soldier, Muslim convert Naser Jason Abdo, was jailed for life for plotting to blow up a restaurant full of troops near Fort Hood in 2011.

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