- (Photo: REUTERS/Larry Downing)
- (Photo: REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will attend a memorial service on Wednesday at the Fort Hood Army base in Killeen, Texas, the site of last week's shooting that left three soldiers killed and 16 injured, a White House aide announced Sunday.
"It's a terrible tragedy that happened in Fort Hood. The president and first lady send their thoughts and prayers out to the victims and families and everyone on the base, and are going to actually travel down on Wednesday to the memorial ceremony," White House Senior Adviser Dan Pfeiffer said on CBS's "Face the Nation."
Investigators say the alleged shooter, Ivan Lopez, an army truck driver, had a verbal altercation with his colleagues before he opened fire last Wednesday. The shooter also killed himself.
After the shooting, Obama said in his remarks that "my national security team is in close contact with not just the Defense Department but the FBI."
"They are working with folks on the ground to determine exactly what happened to make sure that everybody is secure. And I want to just assure all of us that we're going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened," the president said.
Chris Grey, a spokesman for the Army's Criminal Investigation Command based in Quantico, Va., said a "concrete motive" for the shooting wasn't clear. "The possibility does exist that we may never know why the alleged shooter did what he did."
Lopez's father said his son was receiving medical treatment but was a peaceful family man. "This is very painful for me," he said in a statement, urging prayers for the dead and the 16 people who were wounded in the shooting. "My son could not have been in his right mind. He was not like that."
The three slain soldiers were identified as Sgt. Danny Ferguson from Mulberry, Fla.; Sgt. Carlos A. Lazaney-Rodriguez from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico; and Sgt. Timothy Owens from Effingham, Ill.
"We should be looking at the idea of senior leadership at these bases, give them the ability to carry a weapon," Rep. Mike McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said on "Fox News Sunday" with Chris Wallace. "They defend us overseas and defend our freedom abroad, so the idea that they are defenseless when they come on our home bases, I think, Congress should be looking at that and having a discussion with the bases about what would be the best policy."
However, Pfeiffer said the Pentagon doesn't think that's a good idea.
The Obamas were already scheduled to travel to Texas for Democratic campaign fundraisers in Houston on Wednesday, according to USA Today. They will travel Thursday to the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum in Austin, where Obama will deliver remarks at a civil rights summit to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act.
The last week's attack was the second at Fort Hood since 2009, when 13 people were killed in a shooting by an Army psychiatrist.