A downstate Illinois soldier was among the victims killed in Wednesday's Fort Hood shooting.
U.S. Army Sgt. Timothy Owens, 37, an Effingham native, was fatally shot in the chest during the attack. He was working as a counselor at the time of the shooting.
Owens' mother, Mary Louise Muntean, said she called Owens' wife when she first saw news of the shooting on TV. She was initially told her son was in the hospital, but later learned the terrible news that he had passed.
"I can't believe this has happened. I just can't. I just talked to him Sunday night," Muntean said.
Owens had recently remarried and was the father of two teens.
Muntean said she always worried that her son would get hurt when he was stationed in places like Kuwait, but never dreamed he'd be a victim of violence on home soil.
"I'm very proud of him because he was fighting for our country," Muntean said.
Three people died and 16 were wounded when an Iraq war veteran who suffered from mental health issues opened fire on fellow service members before committing suicide, authorities said. The attack was the latest mass shooting at the post since a 2009 massacre that left 13 people dead.
Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee identified the shooter as Ivan A. Lopez. But the congressman offered no other details.
Officials said there was no indication the shooting was terrorism-related. The gunman's motive remained unknown, officials said, although NBC News reported that the rampage may have resulted from an argument with other soldiers in the motor pool.
Fort Hood covers a total of 340 square miles and supports multiple units, a corps headquarters and a robust mobilization mission. It is home to two full divisions, the 1st Cavalry Division and 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) and 12 additional units.
Around 50,000 soldiers work at Fort Hood, and there are an additional 150,000 civilians who support the base.
The post is about 60 miles north of the capital city of Austin, 50 miles south of Waco, 160 miles south of Dallas and 150 miles north of San Antonio.