FORT HOOD, Texas (Reuters) — The suspected
gunman at Fort Hood in Texas argued heatedly with fellow soldiers before
going on a shooting spree that left three dead and 16 injured at the
expansive U.S. Army base, a military investigator said on Friday.
The suspected shooter Ivan Lopez, a 34-year-old soldier battling
mental illness, then turned the gun on himself in the second mass
shooting at the base in the last five years.
"We do have credible information he was involved in a verbal
altercation with soldiers from his unit just prior to him allegedly
opening fire," Christopher Grey, of the U.S. Army Criminal
Investigation Command, told a news conference, without offering
"At this time, we have not established a concrete motive," Grey
Lopez purchased the weapon used in the shooting, a .45 caliber Smith
& Wesson handgun, on March 1 in Killeen at Guns Galore, the same
shop where former Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Hasan bought the
weapon used in the 2009 rampage at the base where he shot dead 13
people and wounded 32 others.
Investigators from the military, Texas Rangers and the Federal
Bureau of Investigation have interviewed more than 900 people to
gather details of the crime scene that played out over an area
covering about two city blocks, Grey said.
The three shooting victims were also identified.
One was Army Sergeant Timothy Owens, 37, of Illinois, who served as
a heavy vehicle driver and had been deployed to Iraq and Kuwait.
Another casualty was Staff Sergeant Carlos Lazaney Rodriguez, 38, of
Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, who served as a unit supply sergeant with
deployments to Kuwait and Iraq.
The third victim was Sergeant First Class Daniel Ferguson, 39, of
Florida, who served as a transportation supervisor and had been
deployed to Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan.
His fiancée and fellow soldier Kristen Haley told Tampa broadcaster
WTSP-TV he died while trying to barricade a door to keep the shooter
away. She was nearby when the shooting started.
"If he wasn't the one standing there holding those doors closed,
that shooter would have been able to get through and shoot everyone
else," she told WTSP-TV.
The suspected shooter enlisted 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
The Lopez family, who live in Guayanilla, Puerto Rico, said in a
statement that it is "dismayed" by the tragic events.
"This is a very painful situation," said Ivan Lopez's father in the
statement. "I ask for prayers for the affected families."
"My son could not have been in sound mind. He was not that way," he
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 like schools and shopping malls, has intensified a
national debate over gun violence.
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," U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters in
Hawaii on Thursday.
Military officials have so far ruled out terrorism as the reason for
(Additional reporting by Chris Francescani and Victoria Cavaliere in
New York and Ana Martinez in Guayanilla, Puerto Rico; writing by Jon Herskovitz; editing by Gunna Dickson)