Two Men Dead In Apparent Murder-Suicide; Investigation Ongoing
U.S. Air Force officials are reporting that an apparent murder-suicide at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland that left two men dead was the result of "workplace violence." Officials are not identifying the two airmen by name, their ranks, nor their relationship to one another until after they notify the men's families.
The bodies of the two men were found Friday morning along with two handguns, according to a release from Air Force Public Affairs.
"What we know is that we have two victims right now, we're going through our process and procedures, and once we make a formal determination through the investigation we will let you know," said Air Force Brig. Gen. Robert LaBrutta at a news conference Friday.
Around 8:40 Friday morning Bexar County authorities received reports of an active shooter at Lackland. Sheriff’s Office spokesman James Keith said deputies were the first to respond.
"The sheriff’s office found the bodies, our deputies are the ones that are conducting the initial search,” Keith said.
More than 20 emergency vehicles crowded the Medina Base Annex where the shooter was believed to be one of the deceased. “Right now our investigators believe it’s a murder-suicide as far as those victims.”
The base went into immediate lockdown, as well as some area schools and at least one business.
Authorities then went room to room inside at Forbes Hall to make sure the incident had been contained. They found two "glock weapons," according to LaBrutta. Once it was determined those involved were both dead, the lockdown was lifted shortly about 10:15 a.m.
We have two dead at Lackland Air Force Base, deputies are still inside the building— Bexar County Sheriff’s Office (@BexarCoSheriff) April 8, 2016
BREAKING: Sheriff's office: 2 dead in apparent murder-suicide at Lackland Air Force base in Texas.— The Associated Press (@AP) April 8, 2016
"Our initial assessment is that this is not an act of terrorism," said FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Rob Saale at the news conference. He went on to say that despite earlier reports that the FBI would be taking over the investigation, it would handled by the Office of Special Investigations with the Air Force.
The Medina Annex is home to cyber security and Intelligence operations and part of Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. The base is also the home of Air Force basic training. Forbes Hall is part of the Annex and provides support to battlefield airmen, LaBrutta said.
“It’s a classroom facility, there’s an actual theater, and there’s actually office space that are in Forbes Hall,” he said.
LaBrutta also said investigators are trying to determine if the two men were authorized to carry those weapons on base or whether they slipped through security.
Several government officials issued statements as the incident unfolded:
Mayor Ivy Taylor: “I am closely monitoring the situation at Lackland AFB and am confident that all the responding agencies are working together to control the situation and protect public safety. I can confirm SAPD is also involved as part of a coordinated response. Our thoughts and prayers are with the individuals and families affected by this tragedy.”
State Senator José Menéndez (District 26): "We are closely monitoring the heartbreaking scene that unfolded at Lackland Air Force Base this morning. Our thoughts and our prayers go out to the service members, civilian workers, and their families. We know that the Air Force, the FBI and local first responders worked quickly to resolve this devastating situation. We thank them for their heroic service and will provide any auxiliary support they need. This senseless violence strikes at the heart of the San Antonio community. Lackland Air Force Base and the other military installations are woven into the fabric of our community. Together we mourn with the families who tragically lost a loved one. This situation is still being investigated and as my office receives more details, we will respond."
U.S. Representative Joaquin Castro (Texas District 20), member of the House Armed Services Committee: “I’m devastated that violence struck our community this morning. My prayers are with everyone at Lackland and all who have been affected by this tragedy. I’m grateful to our city’s first responders who provided assistance today, and I offer my deepest gratitude to the brave men and women who serve in the Air Force and are stationed here at JBSA. My staff and I are in touch with the Department of Defense about this morning’s incident as details continue to unfold.”
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas): “As details of this horrific incident continue to unfold, Heidi and I pray for peace, comfort, and safety for those involved. We continue to lift up in prayer each of our servicemen and servicewomen who face inconceivable danger on a routine basis. It is tragic to once again see an active shooter commit murder at one of our domestic military bases, where service members and their families should feel safe and secure. I applaud all of the first responders for their swift response to this horrible act. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and stand by to offer assistance as needed.”