At approximately 3:10 P.M. local time on Tuesday, January 6, 2015, a gunman opened fire at the Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center- El Paso. The center is located adjacent to the William Beaumont Army Medical Center on Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas.
Statements made at a press conference by Major General Stephen Twitty, Commander of Fort Bliss and the Army’s 1st Armored Division, confirmed that a lone shooter entered the facility, shot and killed a physician, and then allegedly fatally shot himself. Law enforcement has yet to confirm the report at the time this article was written. Additionally, the names of the shooter and the victim have yet to be released, as law enforcement is currently conducting their investigation.
The shooting prompted a significant response from law enforcement, as Fort Bliss Military Police, the El Paso Police Department and federal law enforcement officers immediately responded. The VA carried out its own pre-determined response plan, with patients and VA medical staff on security lock down for hours inside the medical center.
During the lock down, Fort Bliss leadership sent white buses to shelter those outside the building waiting for friends, loved ones and co-workers still inside the medical center. The American Red Cross also arrived to offer aid.
Other than the two fatalities, no additional staff or patients at the facility were reported to be physically injured. But, of course, there will be mental and emotional trauma suffered through the witnessing of the deadly shooting at Fort Bliss.
The El Paso VA website said that the El Paso VA Health Clinic will close on January 7th, and that anyVeterans with appointments would be contacted to reschedule as soon as possible. The page also says that the Eastside and Las Cruces CBOCs will remain open.
The El Paso VA Health care System Facebook page says that there is no requirements for VA staff to show up to work at the El Paso clinic on January 7th, but the VA is providing counselors for their employees to meet with in the afternoon The page also says that counselors will be made available on January 8, from 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M., for Veterans who were present at the clinic. This will take place at the American Legion Town Hall #58, 4724 Vulcan Avenue.
The Staff at MilitaryConnection.com extend our thoughts, prayers and well wishes to the family of the victim, the family of the shooter, the staff and patients at the El Paso VA clinic, and the military community in and around Fort Bliss.
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Military Connection: Shooting at El Paso VA Clinic: By Debbie Gregory