SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Sami Ibrahim): At least one American soldier went on a shooting rampage Thursday in a sprawling Texas military base killing 11 people and wounding 31 others before being gunned down, army officials said.
Two other soldiers were arrested after the shooting spree and were being held as suspects, said Lieutenant General Bob Cone, commander at Fort Hood, the largest US military base in the world.
The soldier, identified as Major Hassan Malik, opened fire with two handguns in a busy processing center where troops go before being deployed on overseas missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Cone told reporters the motive for the attack remained unclear.
"We don't know that right now. Again, this is all under investigation," he stressed; adding he believed the incident was now over.
US President Barack Obama, who had been kept informed of the shooting as the drama was tracked in the White House situation room, denounced the attack as "an horrific outburst of violence."
"My immediate thoughts and prayers are with the wounded and with the families of the fallen," Obama said.
"It's difficult enough when we lose these brave Americans in battles overseas. It is horrifying that they should come under fire at an army base on American soil."
Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison said Malik was about to be deployed to Iraq.
"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," she said.
General Cone confirmed that 12 people were dead including the shooter.
"At approximately 1:30 today, a shooter entered what we call the soldier readiness facility, where soldiers getting ready to deploy go for check ups and treatment. A shooter opened fire. That person was killed. As I said, the shooter was killed. He was a soldier," Cone said.
Cone added that after a manhunt on the sprawling base in Killeen they had "apprehended two additional soldiers who are suspects, and I would go into the point that there were eyewitness accounts that there may have been more than one shooter."
He said he had been stunned by the incident, adding "soldiers and family members and many of the great civilians that work here are absolutely devastated.
"I want to express my condolences to the soldiers, the families, and the civilians in this great community in central Texas. This is a tragedy, but we will work through it."
Fort Hood has been working to rehabilitate many soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome, local congressman John Carter told sources.
Fort Hood is the headquarters of the Army 3rd Corps, the 4th Infantry Division and the 1st Cavalry Division.
All those units have seen extensive duty in Iraq.