Two men were killed Friday in a shooting at a Texas Air Force base that appeared to be a murder-suicide, prompting a lockdown that lasted for more than 90 minutes and an investigation that will continue throughout the day, authorities said.
The shooting occurred at the Medina Training Annex on the Lackland portion of Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. When authorities responded to a 911 call that came in at about 8:40 a.m., they found two men down in an office of Forbes Hall, a large facility that includes classrooms and a theater and is used by members of the elite Air Force Special Operations Command, according to officials.
“It appears to be a murder-suicide,” James Keith, spokesman for the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, said in a telephone interview.
Keith said that after police found the two people who had been killed, deputies continued to search locked rooms at Lackland “for other victims and any other possible shooters.” Police believe one of the two people killed was the shooter but “we are not ready to confirm that,” Keith said at about 10 a.m. local time.
In a news conference outside the base about an hour later, the top base commander, Brig. Gen. Robert D. Labrutta, declined to identify the victims or characterize their relationship, but said both were men. Two Glock weapons were found at the scene of the shooting, something that would be off-limits in a domestic military environment to anyone who does not have a law enforcement role, the general said.
Authorities have determined the incident was not terrorism, putting the Air Force Office of Special Investigations in charge of determining what happened with the FBI assisting in the probe.
“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,” said Lt. Col. Jeremy Waller, a commander in Air Force OSI. “Everything continues to progress as the day continues on. I expect that this will continue for several more hours.”
The base lockdown was lifted at 10:17 a.m.
“We are safe and secure,” LaBrutta 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 really occurred.”
Keith said police did not have any information about any possible motive or a relationship between the two people who were killed. Another law enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that the incident appears to have emanated from a dispute.
The Air Force Times reported Friday that an internal memo said the commanding officer of a training squadron at the base was shot by an airman.
The shooting occurred west of the main part of the base and the city of San Antonio, and outside Interstate 410, the highway ringing the city.
The annex was once used to train Air Force officers, but is now set aside for the training of military police, Air Force Special Operations forces who work in special tactics, and other personnel. Military police regularly use the annex for training, based on photos released by the Air Force.
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Washington Post staff writer Matt Zapotosky contributed to this report.