[Updated below, 4:48 p.m. Live video coverage below.] Seven soldiers have been killed at Fort Hood in central Texas this afternoon and 12 others were wounded by two gunmen, according to authorities.
The suspects are believed to still be on the loose, according to a public information officer for the base. Army officials have confirmed a “violent incident” at the post, but have not released any other details about the shootings.
There are reports that several ambulances and police units are headed to a location at the center of the huge Army post.
Fort Hood is the largest U.S. Army post in the world, with thousands of soldiers stationed there.
This story is developing.
Updated, 3:59 p.m.:
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Updated, 4:48 p.m.:
At least one suspect is in custody, reports KCEN, which quoted a source as saying at least one of the shooters had a high-powered rifle. The station reported that at least four SWAT officers were among those wounded.
A spokesman for Fort Hood said the shootings took place at two locations around 1:30 p.m.: the Soldiers Readiness Processing Center and Howze Theater.
The spokesman, Sgt. Major Jamie Posten, said processing center was where soldiers “cycle through as they prepare to deploy.” That complex is on the West side of post, off Battalion Avenue.
Greg Schannep, an aide to Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, who was on the post to attend a graduation service, told the Austin American-Statesman that a soldier with blood on his uniform ran past him and said a man was shooting.
The Temple Independent School District was on a “soft” lockdown. Parents were asked to pick their children up at the normal times, although they could experience delays.
Agents of the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were on their way to the post, federal officials said.
Fort Hood is adjacent to Killeen, about 60 miles northeast of Austin. The sprawling complex is home to at least 4,929 active-duty officers and 45,414 enlisted. Civilian employees total nearly 9,000.
A spokesman for the Army, Lt. Col. Lee M. Packnett, said he was unaware whether security measures were put in place at other military bases. A spokesman at Fort Lewis, Wash., said the incident was being treated as isolated.
President Barack Obama was briefed on the shootings, press secretary Robert Gibbs said.
Homeland Security spokeswoman Sara Kuban said officials from several federal agencies are still collecting information on the shootings. “Because this is early in this event, we cannot at this time confirm motives behind these shootings,” she said.
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson, R-Texas, said in a statement: “I am shocked and saddened by today’s outburst of violence at Fort Hood that has cost seven of our brave service members their lives and has gravely injured others. My heart goes out to their loved ones.”
Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s campaign spokesperson said the governor was in Denton, scheduled to attend a campaign event, when word of the shooting occurred. There was no word on whether he had left Denton or whether he was headed to Fort Hood.
Milly Land, who works at the base fitness center, said she was headed for the graduation ceremony at 2 p.m. at the Howze Theater when the campus was locked down. She went back to the fitness center. She said she spoke by phone with friends at the soldier processing center, who said a gunman walked in about 1:30, walked to the medical area of the processing center, and started shooting. A second gunman was shooting at the theater next door, she said.
Fort Hood has seen other violence in recent years. In September 2008, a 21-year-old 1st Cavalry Division soldier shot his lieutenant to death and then killed himself. Spc. Jody Michael Wirawan of Eagle River, Alaska, shot himself to death after shooting 1st Lt. Robert Bartlett Fletcher, 24, of Jensen Beach, Fla. to death.