Two service members lost their lives in an apparent murder-suicide at Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA), Friday morning. The incident forced officials to lock down the base for two hours before the situation was declared contained and isolated by law enforcement.
The names of the victim and the gunman have yet to be released.
Reports suggest that an Airman in the 342nd Training Squadron murdered his commanding officer, and then turned the weapon on himself. The incident occurred at the Medina Base Annex, in Building 147, a classroom facility referred to as “Forbes Hall” of JBSA. News of an Active Shooter was first reported at 8:40 a.m. Central Time. At the scene, two victims and two Glock pistols were recovered from an office within Forbes Hall.
The Medina Annex is part of the Air Education and Training Command (AETC), and functions as a special tactics training facility for Air Force Special Operations and Security Forces.
An FBI spokesman has clarified that the incident is not an act of terrorism. The FBI is assisting the Air Force Office of Special Investigation to determine the cause of this unfortunate incident. Lt. Col. Jeremy Waller, an Air Force OSI commander, stated: “We are in the process of beginning to conduct our crime-scene investigation with our crime scene investigators, as well as looking for other leads and information as to determining how this incident began.”
Brigadier General Bob LaBrutta, commander, of the 502nd Air Base Wing and Joint Base San Antonio, in a media conference from the base, said: “These unfortunate events happen. We have 82,000 people that come to work at Joint Base San Antonio every single day, and just like any public [facility] and in the community, we have some one-offs. That’s what I would consider this: A one-off. It’s not a terrorism situation. It’s an active shooter situation, and the investigation will make the determination of what occurred.”
It is not clear if the firearms used in the shooting were military-issued or privately-owned firearms. There are tight controls on privately-owned firearms at JBSA. Dan Hawkins, a spokesman for JBSA, said: “It’s not clear whether the gunman was authorized to have a weapon.” Privately-owned firearms are not permitted to be freely carried on JBSA. If a privately-owned firearm is brought onto JBSA Security Forces must be notified in advance with proof of registration, consideration to carry a privately-owned firearm on JBSA is considered on a case-by-case basis through a series of checks and protocols by Security Forces.
Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA), near in San Antonio, Texas (Bexar County), and is also known as “Military City USA.” JBSA encompasses Fort Sam Houston, Lackland Air Force Base and Randolph Air Force Base, three separate installations that merged to form Joint Base San Antonio in 2010.
JBSA is the primary facility where the U.S. Air Force holds basic training for enlisted Airmen. A scheduled basic training parade was underway near the Medina Base Annex when the shooting took place, with an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 onlookers in attendance. The ceremony was swiftly disbanded when the initial active-shooter alert was issued, and the Airmen and visitors were moved to the nearby Gateway Club until an all-clear could be confirmed.
Also, on the grounds of JBSA, is the Lackland Elementary School, Stacy Junior/Senior High Schools and three early childhood centers. The facility also hosts the Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center, a medical center that functions with the Brooke Army Medical Center the two cooperate as the San Antonio Military Medical Center.
JBSA has become the fourth Texas military installation to fall victim to senseless violence. Just sixteen month ago, in January 2015, an Army veteran and former clerk at the Department of Veterans Affairs mental health clinic at Fort Bliss in El Paso killed a psychologist, then killed himself in a murder-suicide. In 2015, three soldiers were killed, and sixteen others were wounded during an attack by Army Specialist. Ivan A. Lopez, who also committed suicide after the attack at Fort Hood, Texas. Lopez’s attack resulted from frustration that his leave requests not been approved. Fort Hood is also the location of the 2009 Nidal Malik Hasan act of domestic terrorism that claimed the lives of thirteen and injured thirty-one.