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Gunman, another person killed at VA clinic in Texas

 
Published Jan. 7, 2015

EL PASO, Texas — A gunman opened fire at a veterans' medical clinic in West Texas on Tuesday, killing one other person, officials said. The gunman was also killed.

Investigators, who took no questions from reporters during a Tuesday night news conference, did not say whether the gunman killed himself or was killed by someone else. They also provided no details on the victim or the gunman and no possible motive for the shooting.

Earlier, a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke of El Paso said the victim was apparently a doctor.

Fort Bliss Maj. Gen. Stephen Twitty said the shooting happened at the El Paso Veterans Affairs Health Care System's clinic, which is in a complex that includes the William Beaumont Army Medical Center. The entire complex was locked down Tuesday as authorities responded to the shooting.

"The alleged shooter is dead, and we have one casualty. That casualty is deceased. All other VA patients and staff are safe," said Twitty, commanding officer of nearby Fort Bliss.

"Everything is under control and there is no immediate threat to Fort Bliss or the local community," Twitty said.

The VA clinic came under scrutiny last year after a federal audit showed it had some of the nation's longest wait times for veterans' trying to see a doctor for the first time. A survey of hundreds of West Texas veterans last year found that they waited an average of more than two months to see a Veterans Affairs mental health professional and even longer to see a physician.

The VA clinic will be closed today, said its acting director, Peter Dancy.

The FBI, which is leading the investigation, has hundreds of potential witnesses, many of whom were patients or would-be patients at the clinic, said Douglas Lindquist, special agent in charge of the FBI El Paso office.

"Those people were here seeking medical assistance, so we understand the difficulties that this situation presents to them and we're trying to expeditiously get through those hundreds of witnesses to find out details about this incident," Lindquist said.