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.
Greg Flakus
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.

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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

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