Ivan Lopez, the 34-year-old soldier suspected of shooting dead
three people and wounding 16 others before turning the gun on
himself at Fort Hood on Wednesday afternoon, was battling mental
illness, the Army said, but no motive has been given.
Lopez joined the service in 2008 and had served two tours of duty
abroad, including four months in Iraq in 2011, military officials
said. He had no direct involvement in combat and had not been
There was a strong possibility a verbal altercation with another
soldier or soldiers preceded the shooting, Lieutenant General Mark
Milley told reporters on Thursday, adding there was no indication
that he targeted specific people.
The rampage is the third shooting at a military base in the United
States in about six months that, along with a series of shootings in
public places, such as schools and malls, has prompted a national
debate over gun control regulations.
It has also raised questions about security at U.S. military
installations, such as Fort Hood, home to some 45,000 soldiers and
airmen assigned to the 335-square-mile (870-square-km) base, along
with thousands of civilian employees.
"Obviously we have a gap. Anytime we lose an individual, something's
gone wrong. But ... let the investigators do their work," U.S.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters in Hawaii on Thursday.
"I think we have to be careful not to jump to any conclusions or try
to frame this up in some kind of a social statement. We just don't
know enough yet. And we will know what we need to know to fix the
problem," Hagel said.
Military officials have so far ruled out terrorism as inspiration
for the attack, but have said Lopez's medical history indicates
unstable psychiatric and psychological conditions. He had been
treated for depression and anxiety and was being evaluated for
post-traumatic stress disorder.
The shooting sent shockwaves through a Central Texas community still
reeling from a 2009 attack during which a former army psychiatrist,
Major Nidal Hasan, shot dead 13 people and wounded 32 others.
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Lopez, originally from Puerto Rico, had recently bought the gun he
used, a Smith & Wesson .45-caliber pistol, at Guns Galore, the same
store in Killeen where Hasan shopped.
Three of the soldiers who had been listed in critical condition at
Scott & White Hospital in Temple have shown "great signs of
improvement", a nursing supervisor said on Friday. Their conditions
is now listed as serious.
Five patients have been discharged, with one patient staying on
through Friday for tests.
Among those killed was 37-year-old Army Sergeant Timothy Owens, a
recently-married native of Effingham, Illinois, who was shot in the
chest at close range, his mother-in-law told the Chicago Sun-Times
Owens was shot five times as he tried to calm down the shooter, CBS
News reported, citing his mother.
One of the injured was identified by his family via Twitter as Major
Patrick Miller of New York. Miller, from Allegany, joined the army
after graduating from St. Bonaventure University in 2003, New York
Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.
(Additional reporting by David Bailey in Minneapolis, Chris
Francescani and Victoria Cavaliere in New York, Colleen Jenkins in
North Carolina, Jim Forsyth in San Antonio, Eileen O'Grady in Fort
Hood, Phil Stewart in Honolulu, and David Storey, Peter Cooney and
Steve Holland in Washington; writing by Eric M. Johnson; editing by
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