News / USA

Shooting Investigation at Fort Hood Focuses on Verbal Altercation

This undated image shows Army Spc. Ivan Lopez, who shot three people April 2 before killing himself.
This undated image shows Army Spc. Ivan Lopez, who shot three people April 2 before killing himself.
U.S. military officials say they have evidence that a verbal argument prompted 34-year-old Army Specialist Ivan Lopez to open fire Wednesday on fellow soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas before taking his own life. The dead soldier's family says his mental illness, however, was to blame.

A spokesman for the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, Chris Gray, told reporters that "credible information" indicates that Ivan Lopez "was involved in a verbal altercation with soldiers from his unit just prior to allegedly opening fire." Gray said he could not provide details about the argument since it is still under investigation, but he said that the gunman apparently had no specific targets after leaving the scene of the dispute.

"The subject then proceeded to travel to two other nearby buildings, entering those locations and opening fire. In transit to those locations, while in his personal vehicle, he indiscriminately fired at other soldiers while moving from one location to another," said Gray.

After being confronted by a female military police officer, Lopez then shot himself in the head. Gray said investigators may never know exactly why he did what he did.

Family members of Lopez released a statement saying that he had been under medical treatment. His father, Ivan Lopez, Sr., said what his son did Wednesday "was not like him." The elder Lopez said his son "must have been out of his mind."

Watch related video by VOA's Greg Flakus
Fort Hood Shooting Puts Focus Again on Mental Illnessi
Greg Flakus
April 04, 2014 9:14 PM
The tragedy at Fort Hood, Texas, this week has drawn attention to the challenge of treating mental illness in the military and the misconceptions about mental afflictions in society as a whole. VOA's Greg Flakus spoke to one of the top U.S. experts on mental illness and filed this report from Houston.

The soldier was taking medication for depression, anxiety and sleep disturbances and had asked for an evaluation for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a mental affliction usually associated with the extreme stress or danger soldiers encounter in combat. Military doctors had not diagnosed that condition, and Lt. General Mark Milley said there is no evidence that Lopez was ever in such a situation while stationed for four months in Iraq in 2011.

"We are digging into his combat experience in Iraq and, so far, we have not discovered any specific traumatic event, wounds received in action, contact with the enemy, or anything else specific that he may have been exposed to while deployed," said Milley.

Milley also provided an update on the three soldiers killed, revealing their names -- Sergeant Carlos Rodriguez, Sergeant Timothy Owens and Sergeant First Class Danny Ferguson, who held a door shut and allowed others to escape before bullets hit him. He had just returned from a tour in Afghanistan.

Investigators say they have interviewed more than 900 people to gather details of the crime scene.

Wednesday's attack was the second at the base since 2009 when an Army psychiatrist opened fire on fellow soldiers, killing 13.

Milley said all but six of the soldiers treated at area hospitals after the shooting Wednesday now have been released, and he described them as "resilient."

The continuing investigation of the shooting at Fort Hood involves about 150 law enforcement personnel from the military, the FBI, the Texas Rangers, and local area police. They have established a basic timeline of what happened, but the biggest mystery remains the motive that drove Lopez to fire on his fellow soldiers.
  • Military personnel and civilians wait in a parking lot outside the Fort Hood military base for updates about the shooting that occurred inside, April 2, 2014.
  • Krystina Cassidy and Dianna Simpson attempt to make contact with their husbands who are stationed inside Fort Hood, while standing outside of the Bernie Beck Gate, April 2, 2014.
  • Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, commanding general of III Corps and Fort Hood, speaks with the media outside of an entrance to the Fort Hood military base following a shooting that occurred inside, April 2, 2014.
  • Lt. Gen. Mark Milley addresses the media during a news conference at the entrance to Fort Hood Army Post in Texas, April 2, 2014.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Dragonfly310 from: MS
April 07, 2014 11:18 AM
Here's some other things that should be considered. First, why are the investigators (and his "doctors")only searching through searching through his combat/military history in regards to his PTSD complaint? Combat isn't the only trauma that can lead to PTSD. Is Lopez exempt from that because he's a soldier?

Next, he and his family had only been in Ft. Hood for a month and was trying hard to get on post housing and was declined. Was he getting his BAQ and BAS? Or was the Army hassling him about that too? (Lopez was only a Specialist, and off his salary without the BAQ/BAS, you really cannot afford to support a family. ) Plus, why is a 34 year old only a Spc when he entered in 2008, especially since he had a good record. Did the Army bypass him here too?

Then, he says he v was the victim of a robbery. Was his complaint taken seriously or was it tossed aside, like KPD and military police are prone to do? (KPD will claim no jurisdiction even if the crime occurred within its jurisdiction if it appears another soldier committed the crime and they'll send it to the MP's. Then, the MP's will claim no jurisdiction because the crime didn't occur on Ft Hood property, for example.)

Next, the part that appears to have triggered the shooting: a leave request. He was already denied adequate leave for his mother's funeral (he did eventually get the rrquired time, but he probably had to force the command to follow Army regs), so to be told he had come in the next day for the paperwork probably set him off, since he might've thought the process was repeating.

With all this, plus the medical issues he was being "treated" for, could be the motive. Which makes me wonder. Was he really being treated for his own well being, or for the Army's?

by: Dr. Blaylock from: USA
April 06, 2014 7:07 PM
The FACTS are these: ALL other shootings including this one , the gunmen was on SSRI drugs, and the media REFUSES to mention that, because they are in bed with the pharmaceutical companies, your local doctor, and your local pharmacy. WAKE UP AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
In Response

by: meanbill from: USA
April 07, 2014 12:23 PM
All these mass killing occurrences seem to be committed by people without friends, and when a person is friendless, who's to blame? .. (medicine?) .. IF you were in the military or other organizations, you'd understand, that some people just can't interact with others, and can't communicate with others, and are friendless, and you'd blame (medicine) for this?

by: meanbill from: USA
April 05, 2014 8:53 AM
IT'S A DAMN SHAME.... Since April 02, 2014 over 150 investigators from the (FBI) and other law enforcement agencies, have already interviewed over 900 people, and numerous crime scenes for evidence .. (BUT?) .. the US only sent a few (FBI) agents to Benghazi Libya after (2) or (3) weeks to investigate ambassador Stevens, and three other Americans who were killed .. (AND?) .. they left in a few days, saying Stevens and Smith were asphyxiated, and Woods and Doherty were killed by mortar rounds? --- (CRAZY isn't it?) ... How the US intelligence services, and law enforcement agencies, and the news media investigate, and report on different murders of US citizens, isn't it? --- (One thing is for sure?) .. They're not wasting time investigating "talking points" are they?
In Response

by: Dave Jenkins
April 05, 2014 7:15 PM
You need mental help.

by: Terra from: Missouri
April 05, 2014 8:03 AM
When people snap like that I am sure there is a mental breakdown somewhere. There is help given to soldiers everyday everywhere for such matters. But the fight that we as a people are up against is not a physical fight it is a spiritual fight. Our soldiers are dealing with real issues and i can say so because I too am a veteran and have dealt with it as well. Here is the cure that we all need .... His name is Jesus!! He will help all who come to him all you have to do is ask. Even if you never believed in Him before. try Him what else do you have to lose... another life??? when you've tried everything try Jesus

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs