VA Clinic Shooter Was Iraq Vet

Jerry Serrato worked as clerk at El Paso clinic
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 7, 2015 11:14 PM CST
Updated Jan 8, 2015 3:00 AM CST
VA Clinic Shooter Was Iraq Vet
Medical personnel wait with other VA and Beaumont Army Medical Center visitors in a parking lot outside the VA following a shooting inside the facility Jan. 6, 2015.   (AP Photo/The El Paso Times, Victor Calzada)

(Newser) – An Army veteran who fatally shot a psychologist at a West Texas veterans' hospital before killing himself was a former clerk at the clinic and had threatened the doctor in 2013, the FBI says. The gunman has been identified as Jerry Serrato, a 48-year-old who was medically discharged from the Army in 2009 after serving in Iraq two years earlier. The FBI says Serrato used a .380-caliber handgun to shoot Dr. Timothy Fjordbak, 63, and himself at the El Paso Veterans Affairs Health Care System at Fort Bliss on Tuesday. Fjordbak was a psychologist who left private practice after the 9/11 attacks because he wanted to work with military veterans, officials say.

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Serrato served in the Ohio Army National Guard from 1985 to 1993, then enlisted in the Army in July 2006, according to military records. He served in Iraq for five months in 2007. Officials didn't provide a motive for the shooting. However, Fjordbak had reported Serrato made an unspecified verbal threat against him at an El Paso supermarket in 2013. Serrato had some sort of perceived or real grievance against Fjordbak and said something to the effect of "I know what you did and I will take care of it," the FBI says. Both men worked at the VA at the same time in 2013, but authorities do not believe they had a working relationship, the FBI says, and there is no immediate indication the gunman was a patient. (Read more Veterans Administration stories.)

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