Ford Hood Shooting: Ivan Lopez, Soldier who Killed 3 and Himself was Being Treated for Depression, Anxiety
By Gopi Chandra Kharel | April 3, 2014 4:37 PM EST
The soldier behind Wednesday's deadly shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, who killed three before killing himself, had mental health issues and was being treated for depression and anxiety.
Ford Hood Shooting: Lt. Gen. Mark Milley addresses the media during a news conference at the entrance to Fort Hood Army Post in Texas April 2, 2014. (Photo: Reuters)
Hours after the shooter opened fire, wounding 16 others, US Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas identified the shooter as Ivan Lopez. However, officials did not make it clear on what might have been the motivation for the murderous soldier to kill fellow soldiers and himself.
"We do know that this soldier had behavioral health and mental health issues and was being treated for that," Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, head of the Army's III Corps said.
The official said that the Army serviceman was under evaluation for post-traumatic stress disorder at the time of the shooting at the base. He was armed with a .45-caliber Smith and Wesson semiautomatic pistol that he had purchased recently, the Los Angeles Times has reported.
The 34-year-old soldier was married and lived near the base. His wife came out in the courtyard of their apartment building late in the afternoon and broke out in tears, when she heard her husband had shot dead three, wounded 16 others before killing himself, the newspaper reported citing a neighbor, Xanderia Morris.
Lopez, his wife and their 2-year-old daughter had moved in a few weeks ago and few people seemed to know them, the neighbor said.
"He was always smiling whenever I'd see him," Morris, who is a cook, told the paper. "The wife, she was really nice too, but she didn't speak much English."
At a news conference Wednesday evening, officials said there were no indications that the shooting spree was terrorism-related, but they planned to scour Lopez's record for any signs of warning.
He served four months in Iraq in 2011, but he was not formally diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder; nor was he in the process of leaving or getting kicked out of his position, Milley told reporters.
Lopez however, had a brain injury after returning from Iraq and was on medication, Milley added. He had not been awarded a Purple Heart (United States military decoration awarded to those wounded or killed).
Officials are still not sure about the exact sequence of the events of the shooting, but they have speculated that it began about 4 pm in the 1st Medical Brigade area of the base. He walked into one of the buildings, began shooting, before getting into a vehicle. He is said to have also fired from his vehicle before heading into another building where he opened another round of fire.
Law enforcement arrived on the scene within 15 minutes and it is reported that it was a female military police officer who confronted Lopez in a parking lot.
She was reportedly approaching Lopez when he was about 20 feet away. He initially put his hands up but he quickly reached under his jacked and pulled out his pistol. The female officer tried to "engage" with him but all was in vain. Lopez managed to point gun to his own head and killed himself, reports suggest.
All the victims were service members, officials said.
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