In an apparent suicide attempt, a female soldier injured herself at the Fort Lee Army base in Virginia around 9 a.m. Monday morning.
Fort Lee was placed on temporary lock-down and an Active Shooter protocol was established after the individual was seen with a gun inside the building.
Officials stated that she began throwing objects and then “the soldier turned the weapon on herself and fired one shot, injuring herself.” She did not wound anyone, other than herself, and an ‘all clear’ was given at around 9:50 a.m.
The shooting took place in a four-story building that, according to a military press release, is the headquarters for the Army’s Combined Arms Support Command.
She barricaded herself on the third floor when the lock-down came. According to officials, there were over 1,100 individuals in the building at the time of the shooting.
According to Stars and Stripes, “The daily population at Fort Lee—25 miles south of Richmond and 130 miles from Washington—is about 34,000, with members from all branches, their families, civilians and contractors. Fort Lee’s website says the installation has seen enormous growth and renovations over the past decade as a result of realignment and closures of bases across the U.S.”
As of yet, Army officials are not releasing the name of the shooter but stated that the soldier shot herself in the head after she had barricaded herself in the building. She is being treated at Virginia commonwealth University Medical Center.
The commanding general at Fort Lee, Maj. Gen. Stephen Lyons, stated that the soldier is a sergeant first class and has been in the Army for 14 years. The gun she used was not a service weapon.
“We’re going to keep her in our prayers. She’s a soldier, she’s one of our teammates,” Lyons stated. Declining to indicate on her mental health condition or what could have lead up to the incident, Lyons simply said that she was “upset and enraged.”
“We are sad for our soldier in arms that she faced those kinds of challenges that she felt that she had to resort to those kinds of actions. At the same time we’re grateful because this situation could have been worse.”
Whether or not the soldier was being treated for mental health issues or if drugs or alcohol could have been a factor, officials are unclear and wont speculate. Lyons also stated that he wasn’t sure if her enraged state during the incident was an indicator of her personality trait or not.
This shooting at Fort Lee, the fourth of its kind, came just four months after a soldier plagued with mental health issues opened fire killing three people and wounding 16 others at Fort Hood in Texas. This Fort Hood incident was the third of its kind in six months at that military base. Stars and Stripes reports, a civilian truck driver, in March, shot and killed a “sailor aboard a Navy destroyer at Naval Station Norfolk before he was shot and killed by Navy security…In June, authorities said a sailor repeatedly stabbed another near Naval Medical Center Portsmouth. The same installation was placed on lock-down in April when a sailor shot and killed himself inside a barracks there.”
“Monday’s lock-down came days after Fort Lee announced in its official newspaper that a new mass warning and emergency notification system would be activated in the coming weeks…The system allows users to input phone numbers, email addresses or pop-up alerts on any computer that’s part of the main Fort Lee network, the newspaper said.”
180,000 students are trained annually from CASCOM and on Aug 22, Lyons became its new commanding general.
By Lorra B. Chief Writer for Silent Soldier