United States Army

Photo Credit: Ethan Oblak | Daily Texan Staff

Two four-star Florida recruits  — tight end Devonaire Clarington and defensive back Tim Irvin — announced their verbal commitments to Texas at the US Army All-American Bowl on Saturday.

A 6-foot-5, 224-pound player out of Miami Booker T Washington High School, Clarington held a long list of offers before choosing Texas. He is considered No. 38-ranked tight end in the nation, according to Rivals.com. On the defensive side of the ball, Irvin, who also held multiple offers from top-ranked schools, comes ranked as the No. 23 safety from Westminster Christian in Palmetto Bay, Florida.

The duo's commitments come in the midst of Texas' recruiting hot streak, which started with the commitments of five-star outside linebacker Malik Jefferson and four-star athlete Deandre McNeal on Dec. 19.  In addition, four-star defensive back Devante Davis pledged Thursday, while Dallas four-star linebacker Anthony Wheeler committed to the Longhorns at Friday's Under Armour All-American Game.

Texas' recruiting class now consists of 25 recruits, leaving just six open spots in the 2015 class. With National Signing Day approaching on Feb. 4, the Longhorns have heard interest from a number of top-named recruits, including five-star defensive tackle Daylon Mack, five-star wide receiver DeMarkus Lodge, four-star wide receiver Ryan Newsome and four-star wide receiver Carlos Strickland, among others. 

Currently, Texas has the No. 4 rated recruiting class, according to Scout.com.

Updated (11:07 p.m.): Nine patients are in treatment in the Intensive Care Unit at the Scott & White Memorial Hospital in Temple, and of those nine, three are in critical condition, according to Deontrea Jones, a hospital spokeswoman. 

The soldier, who was identified by U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, as 34 year-old Ivan Lopez, suffered from “unresolved” mental and behavior health issues and was in treatment, according to Lt. Gen. Mark Milley. Fort Hood officials said they would not confrm Lopez was the shooter. He died of self-inflicted injuries after a military police officer approached him.

Milley said though the shooter had not been formally diagnosed, he was undergoing the diagnosis process for post-traumatic stress disorder. The shooter served for four months in Iraq in 2011 and had a wife and children who lived near the base.

“That’s a lengthy diagnosis,” Milley said. 

Updated (9:34 p.m.): U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, identified the shooter at Fort Hood as Ivan Lopez, a soldier at the base. McCaul is the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

According to officials on the base, four people, including the shooter, have died. Several others are being treated for gunshot wounds at local hospitals.

Ben Armstrong, director of student veteran services, said many veterans at UT have close connections with Fort Hood, though there is no way of tracking an exact number.

“Because it’s one of the largest bases in the U.S. army, we have a large number of student veterans on campus that either served on Fort Hood or have had experiences at Fort Hood,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong said he and other members of student veteran services are monitoring the situation closely.

“The immediate thing we’re worried about is the families and soldiers that are on base,” Armstrong said. “Right now I think that all we can do is hope and pray for the people that are on base, and we can go from there, once we figure out what the realities of the situation are.”

Updated (8:22 p.m.): TEMPLE, TX — Scott and White Memorial Hospital, 30 miles from Fort Hood, is currently treating four injured people, and two additional people are en route to the hospital by way of a medical helicopter, according to chief medical official Glen Couchman.

According to Couchman, all of the injured people at the hospital are suffering from gunshot wounds ranging in severity, on victims’ chests, abdomens and extremities, and one person’s neck, Couchman said.

The hospital, which is in the process of contacting victims’ families, doesn’t expect to admit more patients in connection with the shooting, Couchman said. Other victims are being treated at local hospitals including the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center.

“This is another sad day for Central Texas,” Couchman said at a press conference Wednesday.

The Heart of Texas chapter of the Red Cross will collaborate with the city of Killeen to open a shelter for people who live on-base but cannot enter the base because of the lockdown, according to a representative of the Red Cross’ Service to the Armed Forces.

Updated (7:31 p.m.): At a press conference in Chicago, President Barack Obama expressed grief and frustration that another shooting happened on a military base.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire community and we’re going to do everything we can to make sure Fort Hood has what it needs,” Obama said. “Folks there sacrifice so much on behalf of our freedom...they serve with valor and distinction. When they’re at their home base, they need to feel safe. We don’t know what happened tonight, but obviously that sense of safety has been broken again.”

Sociology sophomore Sara Tracy, who attended UT as a freshman and will be returning in the fall, lives in Killeen just a few miles from the Fort Hood base and has family and friends who work there.

Tracy said she still has vivid memories from the 2009 shooting, which happened when she was a junior in high school.

“The first time this happened, we couldn’t leave school,” Tracy said. “It was just scary, because a lot of my friends couldn’t get ahold of their parents because the cell service is terrible when a lot of people use their phones. People were worried because they have parents who work there, and it’s just like the same thing all over again.”

Tracy said the whole community is affected by the shootings.

“It’s emotional — earlier I just cried,” Tracy said. “You just don’t expect it to happen again...you want everybody to be safe.”

Veteran John Daywalt, a government junior from Killeen whose father still works at the Fort Hood base, said another shooting on the base was not something he expected could happen.

“Hearing that it happened a second time is even more devastating,” Daywalt said. “I just hope that the families are all OK, and they get the proper respect that they deserve. It just kind of hits you by surprise.”

Daywalt, who served as a paratrooper in Afghanistan, said gun regulation on army bases is more stringent than people realize.

“I think there’s definitely a misconception that everyone on base is always carrying a weapon,” Daywalt said. “You think that just because they’re in the military, they’re always carrying a weapon. In reality, you are not allowed to touch a weapon without specific orders...so it’s not like if there was something like that you would be able to just respond immediately.”

Updated (6:50 p.m.): At least 18 injured people have been admitted to the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center in connection with the shooting, according to a representative from the Admissions and Dispositions department at the center. The representative said some of the 18 people have already been transferred to Scott and White Memorial Hospital in Temple, TX.

Updated (6:34 p.m.): The shooter may be dead, but this is unconfirmed, according to a report released by Fort Hood’s Directorate of Emergency Services. Fort Hood is still on lockdown.

The Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center and other local hospitals are treating injured people.

In response to an independent review on the 2009 Fort Hood shooting, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates ordered the military in 2010 to better identify potential workplace violence, improve information sharing between agencies and and review emergency response capabilities at installations.

Original story (5:44 p.m.): There is at least one active shooter at the military post at Fort Hood, Texas, according to a press release issued by officers at the post.  Multiple injuries have been reported and emergency crews are on the scene.

The provost marshal’s office said the shooter is still active.

In 2009, Nidal Malik Hasan, a U.S. Army major and psychiatrist, shot and killed 13 people and injured more than 30 others at Fort Hood.

For live updates from Fort Hood, follow reporters Julia Brouillette (@juliakbrou) and Kate Dannenmaier (@kjdannen), as well as the multimedia team members Charlie Pearce (@charliepearce90), Dan Resler (@danrezler) and Carlo Nasisse (@carlonasisse).

Reporting by Julia Brouillette, Nicole Cobler, Kate Dannenmaier, Anthony Green, Jacob Kerr, Jordan Rudner and Amanda Voeller.

Members of the UT chapter of Zeta Beta Tau responsible for painting this mural for their annual Pat O’Brien party face hearings from the chapter’s judicial board in the coming weeks. 

Photo Credit: Alec Wyman | Daily Texan Staff

A backyard mural painted by members of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity, commonly known as ZBT, depicted sexually graphic images involving children’s television characters and U.S. Army veterans as part of decorations for an upcoming party.

The mural, which was painted over earlier this week, depicted several graphic sexual images. In one, a naked woman was depicted from behind performing oral sex on a man dressed in an army uniform next to the words “Support Our Troops — Blow a Bubba.” In another, a fully naked woman is shown masturbating atop a pirate ship. Other images included a leprechaun circled by the words “Show Us Your Clitoris” and a topless female character from Nickelodeon show “The Fairly OddParents.” It is unclear how long the images were displayed in the backyard of the ZBT house, located on West 28th Street and Salado. 

The mural was one of many decorations on wooden platforms currently in the ZBT yard, which were designed and created by newly inducted members of ZBT for the annual “Pat O’Brien’s” party named after the famous New Orleans bar. According to the ZBT website, the party traditionally occurs on the weekend before Thanksgiving.

“Thousands of guests show up to the party — many even fly in to Austin for it,” according to the website. “Months of preparation go in to making [Pat O’s] one of the best parties on campus.”

At press time, no announcement had been made to cancel the event.

Dean of Students Soncia Reagins-Lilly said her office is looking into the matter and has reached out to ZBT officers.

Members of ZBT, including the fraternity’s officers and pledge masters, refused multiple opportunities to comment. 

UT alumnus Laurence Bolotin, executive director of ZBT national headquarters, said the mural was the result of poor decision making.

“It’s pretty simple and straightforward,” Bolotin said. “There were a few brothers within the chapter that made a poor decision with some graphics that they painted within the chapter house.”

According to Bolotin, the mural was painted over as soon as chapter officers realized they were inappropriate.

“The immediate action was to see that the images were removed because the chapter leadership understood that they were inappropriate,” Bolotin said.

Bolotin said the ZBT members responsible for the mural are currently going through hearings conducted by the chapter judicial board, with a sentencing to be decided within a couple weeks. He was not able to provide names of the individuals in question.

“When a complaint is made within a chapter, the chapter’s judicial board hears the complaint and determine the appropriate sanction, similar to the way the University’s judicial board would function,” Bolotin said.

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Two of the Great Lakes have hit their lowest water levels ever recorded, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Tuesday, capping more than a decade of below-normal rain and snowfall and higher temperatures that boost evaporation.

Measurements taken last month show Lake Huron and Lake Michigan have reached their lowest ebb since record keeping began in 1918, and the lakes could set additional records over the next few months, the corps said. The lakes were 29 inches below their long-term average and had declined 17 inches since January 2012.

The other Great Lakes — Superior, Erie and Ontario — were also well below average.

Under Secretary of the Army Joseph Westphal, second from right, visited UT Thursday to learn about research on campus.

Photo Credit: Thomas Allison | Daily Texan Staff

The second highest serving U.S. Army adviser visited the University to speak with faculty Thursday about brain and energy research that could help the Army.

U.S. Army Under Secretary Joseph Westphal’s conversations with faculty hit on timely issues in state higher education, from the push for a UT Austin medical school to funding constraints and faculty’s role in teaching versus doing research. Westphal toured several research labs on campus that could help with post-traumatic stress disorder and energy issues on Army bases. The Army currently provides funding for some University research initiatives and may expand funding to some projects regarding these issues.

Westphal said University researchers play an important role in teaching and said a University researcher should “be a teacher of teachers” by training students in their field to teach. Westphal said he was struck by the University’s interdisciplinary research, such as the projects fusing psychology, neuroscience and chemistry.

“It’s the study of all the impacts of combat,” Westphal said. “It’s what we’re looking for — that type of synergy between disciplines. I think you’ve been able to do things here that I haven’t seen at other universities.”

Westphal said many soldiers who are exposed to potential brain injury appear fine, but may have underlying problems. Jeffrey Luci, neurobiology research assistant professor, said the University’s new MRI equipment made by Siemens offers techniques that were unimaginable two years ago, including images that reveal degenerating areas of the brain affected by traumatic brain injury.

“We find new ways to use the scanner that Siemens hasn’t ever thought of,” Luci said.

When Westphal asked about the technology’s use in a medical school, faculty quickly explained state senator Kirk Watson’s plan to establish a medical school at the University. Westphal said medical schools are important but expensive endeavors.

Engineering faculty presented current projects about energy security, energy independence and alternative fuel sources. Associate Dean for Research John Ekerdt said the University’s energy research has potential to help the Army and to help the country’s general commercial needs.

“We serve as this advancing force,” Ekerdt said. “We don’t have an agenda because we can’t sell you anything except our ideas.”

Westphal said the tour gives him a “flavor” of University resources that would benefit the Army. However, he said budget cuts affect how the Army funds research at institutions like UT.

“We don’t have the luxury anymore to fund everything,” Westphal said. “We have to set priorities.”

Westphal said he is interested in energy research for improvements it could make to energy infrastructure on Army bases.

“It’s not just about ‘how do we fight the next battle,’ it’s ‘how do we protect resources, how do we live among communities and respect them as well?’” Westphal said.

Eagle Scout and former serviceman Patrick Clemens provided first aid to freshman Haifa Abubaker who was in a bike accident at Dean Keaton and Guadelupe last Wednesday. By using his belt as a tourniquet he was able to stabilize her until paramedics arrived.

Photo Credit: Allen Otto | Daily Texan Staff

A Boy Scout troop leader and former U.S. Army soldier likely saved the life of a UT student involved in a bicycle accident at the intersection of Guadalupe and Dean Keeton streets on the afternoon of June 27.

Patrick Clemens used his belt as a tourniquet to wrap the leg of nutrition freshman Haifa Abubaker after she and a CCI Manufacturing cement truck collided. Clemens’ training as a sergeant in the Army and as an Eagle Scout prepared him for the situation.

“There had to be 20 people out there and nobody was helping, nobody would touch her,” Clemens said.

When he heard the crash from the inside of the Jack in the Box where he was servicing the soda machine as a Coca-Cola technician, he turned to see Abubaker in the street after she was dragged 40 feet.

“It was in that moment that I truly felt called, and I heard a voice say ‘you can do this,’” Clemens said.

He then rushed to help Abubaker, who might have bled out otherwise.

“I had to keep pressure on the belt the entire time,” Clemens said. “I put her in the ambulance and she held my hands, and she didn’t want to let go. I told her I’d find her. After it was over I collapsed.”

Clemens said the afternoon of the accident and days following have been the most spiritual experience of his life. He has remained in close contact with the Abubakers and visited the hospital every day. He said the family, who lives in Pearland, near Houston, and is of Ethiopian decent, has “adopted” him. The family declined to comment on the incident.
She had her right leg amputated below the knee and is in fair condition, according to the University Medical Center Brackenridge.

The Austin Police Department considers the collision an accident and will not file criminal charges, said Austin Police Department spokesperson Cpl. Anthony Hipolito. It is unknown if Abubaker will press civil charges against the truck driver or CCI Management.

“It’s a tragedy, and we’re investigating it,” said Fred Coogan, an attorney representing the Abubaker family. “There are questions with regard to the accuracy of the police report.”

Arpeggio Grill, a restaurant near the intersection, has surveillance footage that owner Nasser Trosich said could be helpful in the different parties’ ongoing investigations. Trosich and his daughter Cassandra reviewed the blurry video on June 28 but are now having trouble accessing the file.

According to Nasser and Cassandra Trosich, the footage may contradict reports from APD officials who told The Daily Texan and other news organizations they believe Abubaker may have run a red light on her bicycle while the truck had a green light.

“All you see is a bike rolling and you see a huge concrete truck,” Cassandra Trosich said of the footage. “At 3:02 she’s going North bound on the edge of the street. He was going straight.”

Representatives from CCI Manufacturing did not return calls for comment.

In 2009, there were two collisions involving motor vehicles and bikes at the intersection of Guadalupe and Dean Keeton streets, according to APD. This is the first such incident since then.

“I just hope that the cyclists and the mopeds and the motorcycles look twice,” Clemens said. “Be safe. Look around, especially when there’s so many pedestrians and construction going on.”

Abubaker was planning to run a marathon this week. Instead, she is beginning to move her leg again, Clemens said. The troop leader trembled and tried to hold back tears as he recalled promising Abubaker that one day, the two would run a marathon together.

Printed on 07/07/2011 as: Former soldier rescues injured student