FBI: Gunman fatally shot doctor at Texas veterans’ clinic

World Today

Police officers guard an entrance to the Beaumont Army Medical Center/El Paso VA campus during the search for a gunman Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2014. (AP Photo/The El Paso Times, Victor Calzada)

EL PASO, Texas — A doctor was fatally shot at a Texas veterans’ clinic in an attack that also left the suspected gunman dead, the FBI said Wednesday.

The doctor and the gunman who died Tuesday afternoon at the El Paso Veterans Affairs Health Care System clinic at Fort Bliss were not identified by the FBI.

The FBI was questioning hundreds of patients, staffers and others who may have witnessed the shooting. The agency is leading the investigation because the shooting occurred on federal property, Martinez said.

Investigators haven’t said whether the gunman killed himself or was killed by someone else. They also have not indicated a motive for the shooting.

The FBI will release more information at a news conference Wednesday afternoon at the FBI’s El Paso office, Special Agent Mike Martinez said.

Sutton Smith, a worker at the VA clinic, said Wednesday that a “code white” was issued over the intercom system indicating an active shooter and ordering people to seek shelter.

Smith said he hid with about a dozen people in a locked room with the lights off for some two hours. Apart from the initial alert and some communication among managers via cellphone, no official updates were provided during the lockdown, he said.

The VA said in a statement that it “is deeply saddened by the tragic situation that has occurred in El Paso, and we are actively working with our partners at Fort Bliss to investigate this matter.”

The El Paso clinic came under scrutiny last year after a federal audit showed it had some of the longest wait times for U.S. veterans trying to see a doctor for the first time. A survey last year of more than 690 veterans living in El Paso County 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.

Story compiled with information from The Associated Press.