Flags fly half-staff in tribute to Fort Hood shooting victims

Bob Gordon works on a memorial for the victims of Wednesday's shooting at Fort Hood, Thursday, April 3, 2014, at Central Christian Church in Killeen, Texas. A soldier opened fire Wednesday on fellow service members at the Fort Hood military base, killing three people and wounding 16 before committing suicide. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The prominent flag at the Texas Capitol is flying at half-staff Thursday morning, by order of Gov. Rick Perry in tribute to the victims of the Fort Hood shooting that left four people dead and 16 others hurt.

“I hereby direct the immediate lowering of all flags under state control to half-staff in honor of those involved in the recent shooting at Fort Hood, Killeen, Texas,” said Perry on the governor’s website. “Anita and I send our deepest condolences and prayers to the soldiers, families and support personnel touched by this terrible event.”

As a sign of respect, Perry recommended that people, businesses, municipalities, counties and other political subdivisions are encouraged to fly their flags at half-staff for the same length of time.

State agencies and university leaders will follow suit, as the United States and the State of Texas flags continue to fly at half-staff through sunset on Friday. The tribute extends past the borders of the Lone Star State, as Perry ordered flags at all State of Texas offices and facilities in other states and abroad to honor the victims.

Meanwhile, several survivors of Wednesday’s deadly Fort Hood shooting remain in critical condition. Others may be discharged from Scott and White Hospital in Temple on Thursday, according to hospital officials.

Three patients remain in critical condition, two are in fair condition and four are in good condition. According to the medics, the ones who are in critical condition still have a long way to go before they are discharged. Still, they expressed high hopes for their patients and added they aren’t expecting any more deaths.

Several survivors who are already awake are in good spirits and doctors may discharge them later Thursday after a final assessment.

One of the doctors who was with the hospital when the Fort Hood shooting of 2009 happened said the situation was “jarring” for staff who had gone through this before, saying an easy solution is early detection.

What we now know about post traumatic stress disorder is that the earlier we’re able to address these things, the better,” one of the doctors said. “It’s been our focus as a department to work with Fort Hood to develop a quick access unit so that other members of that community can meet with professionals early on.”

Earlier on Thursday, Army Secretary John McHugh said the suspected gunman Ivan Lopez had not seen combat during his four-month tour in Iraq and was seen by a psychiatrist in April. Officials added this did not mean Lopez was not suffering from serious psychological problems — only that they did not appear to be combat related.

In-Depth: Piecing together the picture of the suspected gunman

As authorities delved deeper into their investigation of the shooting rampage at Fort Hood on Wednesday, they began to piece together a picture of the accused gunman.

Ivan Lopez, 34, was a married father who transferred to the post in February. However, according to the the Army secretary, he had never seen combat during his four-month tour in Iraq in 2011.

The commanding officer of the post, Lt. Gen Mark Milley, did tell reporters Wednesday night that Lopez was on medication and was being evaluated for PTSD but had not been diagnosed. There is also no medical confirmation that Lopez suffered a traumatic brain injury, which he apparently “self-reported” to officials.

Before he was assigned to the 13th Sustainment Brigade at Fort Hood, he served in the Army National Guard in Puerto Rico according to military officials. A Guard spokeswoman told the Associated Press that Lopez went on a peace and security mission to Egypt in the mid-2000s. He left the Guard in 2010 to join the Army.

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