Authorities have identified a man who this week opened fire on a doctor at a Veterans Affairs clinic on an Army base in El Paso, Texas, the FBI announced Wednesday.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has named retired soldier Jerry Serrato, 48, as the gunman who allegedly shot and critically wounded VA psychologist Timothy Fjordbak, 63, before killing himself with the .380-caliber handgun Tuesday afternoon, NBC Dallas-Fort Worth reported.
The victim was being treated for at least one gunshot wound before dying in surgery, Army Master Sgt. Joel Peavy told Guns.com.
Though Serrato was medically retired with an honorable discharge from the Army in 2007 , the FBI said there was no immediate indication he was a patient at the VA clinic, NBC reported.
Authorities have not made public why Serrato allegedly opened fire, but said that Fjordbak reported the veteran in 2013 for making verbal threats against him in an El Paso supermarket.
“It was something in public at a grocery store where Mr. Serrato approached Dr. Fjordbak, who did not recognize him, and he made a verbal threat, and that was the extent of the report. As far as we can tell, that was the only connection that they had,” said Douglas Lindquist, head of the FBI’s El Paso office.
NBC reported that both men worked at the VA at the same time in 2013, but likely did not work together.
Just four months ago, Fort Bliss Commanding Officer Maj. Gen. Stephen Twitty announced the base was not fully complaint with Department of Defense directives on security and rolled out new measures, like random vehicle checks and limited gate access to DoD personnel, though four gates were still opened to the public, NBC reported.
Peavy told Guns.com that although a majority of the individuals accessing the base on a day-to-day basis are military personnel, their dependents, and veterans seeking medical care, the base is open to civilian workers. Residents in surrounding communities can also access the clinic to seek emergency care, Peavy said.
The incident prompted a massive law enforcement response, the El Paso Times reported, with city and military police cordoning off several blocks in the surrounding area. The El Paso Police Department told Guns.com that Fort Bliss military police were handling the incident, and that city officers were sent to help with traffic and street closures.
The El Paso Times reported the shooting occurred at about 3:10 p.m. at the veterans facility located at 5001 N. Piedras St. The installation went into lockdown as U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopters reportedly circled above.