An initial portrait of Ivan Lopez, the Iraq War veteran allegedly responsible for the mass shooting Wednesday afternoon at Fort Hood, is slowly emerging.
Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, identified Lopez, 34, as the alleged shooter following the incident. According to military officials, Lopez was a specialist assigned to the 13th Sustainment Command, a logistics and support unit at Fort Hood.
During a Thursday Senate Armed Services Committee meeting, Army Secretary John McHugh said Lopez, a native of Puerto Rico, joined the Army in June 2008. Previously, the soldier served with the Puerto Rico National Guard.
USA Today reports that, according to Army Secretary John McHugh, the soldier saw a psychologist last month and was given Ambien for a sleeping problem.
Lopez, his wife and their young child moved to the Killeen area, where Fort Hood is located, in February. Prior to the move, the family lived at another Texas military base, authorities said. The Quail Circle apartment Lopez lived in is approximately two miles from the military post, where authorities say he gunned down three people and wounded 16 others before committing suicide.
Authorities said the shooting spree began at approximately 4 p.m., Wednesday, in a medical brigade building. The gunman shot several soldiers there before targeting additional military personnel in another building. The shooting spree ended after roughly 15 minutes when a female military police officer confronted the shooter, prompting him to turn his .45 caliber Smith & Wesson pistol on himself, military officials said.
Fort Hood is the site of the worst ever mass killing at an American military installation.
In November 2009, Nidal Malik Hasan, a U.S. Army major and psychiatrist, fatally shot 13 people and injured more than 30 others at the base before he was shot and taken into custody. Hasan, who is paralyzed from the waist down as a result of his injuries, was later found guilty of 13 counts of premeditated murder. He was sentenced to death.
"Obviously this reopens the pain of what happened at Fort Hood five years ago," President Barack Obama said in a Wednesday evening press briefing. "We are heartbroken that something like this might have happened again. I just hope everyone across the country is keeping the families and the Fort Hood community in our thoughts and our prayers."
A motive in Wednesday's shooting is not yet known, according to Lt. Gen. Mark Milley. Authorities have found no terrorist affiliations and suspect the shooter acted alone.
"We do know that this soldier had behavioral health and mental health issues and was being treated for that," Milley said at a Wednesday evening press conference.
The alleged shooter served a four-month tour of duty in Iraq in 2011, and had recently "self-reported a traumatic brain injury," Milley added.
McHugh said despite possible mental heath issues, Lopez had displayed "no sign of any likely violence either to himself or others."
According to Milley, the gunman, who was in uniform at the time of the shooting, "was not authorized to carry a concealed weapon."
A local woman, who identified herself as a neighbor, told the Times that she did not notice anything out of the ordinary when the Lopez family moved into the neighborhood last month.
"He was always smiling whenever I'd see him," Xanderia Morris told the Los Angeles Times. "The wife, she was really nice too, but she didn't speak much English."
As updates continue to trickle in, the Associated Press reports that authorities are still in the process of questioning witnesses and searching the Lopez home for computers and anything else that might shed light on a possible motive.
04/04/2014 4:57 PM EDT
U.S. Military Official: Mental Health Of Shooter Not Direct Factor In Shooting
FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) — The senior officer at Fort Hood says the mental condition of the soldier who fatally shot three soldiers and wounded 16 others earlier this week was not the "direct precipitating factor" in the shooting.
The comments Friday by Lt. Gen. Mark Milley came a day after he said Spc. Ivan (ee-VAHN') Lopez's mental condition appeared to be an underlying factor.
Milley said Friday that an "escalating argument" precipitated the attack.
Authorities say their investigation has found Lopez had an altercation Wednesday with soldiers in his unit that prompted the shooting.
04/04/2014 4:36 PM EDT
U.S. Military Officials Update On Fort Hood Shooting Investigation
Lt. Gen. Mark Milley and other U.S. Military officials provided additional details on the investigation of the Fort Hood shooting, saying that while the process was ongoing, the rampage was believed to have been preceded by a "escalating argument" involving the alleged shooter, Spc. Ivan Lopez. Officials said that the alleged shooter's mental condition was not the "direct precipitating factor" to the shooting. He said that the alleged shooter's mental health would be fully investigated.
An official said that at the time it is believed that there was "No premeditated targeting of any specific individuals" in the shooting. The weapon used in the shooting had been recovered, and the official said the weapon was purchased on March 1 outside of the base.
The Fort Hood officials said that 10 of the 16 wounded who were admitted to hospital facilities following the shooting had been released and returned to duty.
04/04/2014 4:25 PM EDT
U.S. Military Officials Identify Shooting Victims
In a press briefing, Lt. Gen. Mark Milley identified the three soldiers killed in the Fort Hood shooting: Sgt. First Class Daniel M. Ferguson, age 39; Staff Sgt. Carlos A. Lazaney Rodriguez, age 38; Sgt. Timothy W. Owens, age 37.
Read HuffPost's report here.
04/04/2014 2:03 PM EDT
Official: Alleged Fort Hood Shooter Was In Dispute Over Leave Before Rampage
The soldier at Fort Hood who killed or wounded 19 of his fellow Army members on Wednesday had a dispute with his superiors over their denial of a leave request shortly before the shooting rampage, a law enforcement official said Friday.
The report goes on:
Investigators were also looking into Specialist Lopez’s dispute with Army superiors who had denied his request for leave. He met with Fort Hood officials about the denial on Wednesday shortly before the shooting started and had been clearly agitated and disrespectful after the meeting, the law enforcement official said. It was unclear why he wanted to take time off, but it appeared to involve his family.
Read the report from The New York Times here.
04/04/2014 1:58 PM EDT
Father Of Fort Hood Gunman: He 'Must Not Have Been in His Right Mind'
NBC has released a statement from the family of the alleged Fort Hood shooter, Spc. Ivan Lopez.
Facing the tragedy that occurred on April 2 in Fort Hood, TX, the family of the Puerto Rican soldier Iván López is concerned and asks for prayers for those affected and deceased by the unfortunate incidents. Iván López, father of the soldier, is still in shock and described his son as a calm family man, a young worker who always looked out for the well being of his home and a good son.
"This situation has caused great pain. I ask for prayers for the affected families, even more so when there is still an ongoing investigation. My son must not have been in his right mind, he wasn't like that," said Iván López, Sr.
As an active soldier he defended the nation and received medals. He also worked honorably as a policeman on the island. According to his father, the soldier was under medical treatment and the passing of his mother, his grandfather and the recent changes when transferring to the base surely affected his existing condition because of his experiences as a soldier. No more comments shall be made during the investigation conducted by authorities.
04/03/2014 8:33 PM EDT
Defense Secretary: Too Soon To Draw Safety Conclusions
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says it's too soon to draw any broad conclusions about safety at U.S. military bases after the deadly shootings at Fort Hood, Texas.
He said Thursday that as the investigation unfolds, the Pentagon will continue to take a close look at any new lessons that can be learned from Wednesday's tragedy and implement any needed changes to base security.
04/03/2014 7:08 PM EDT
6 Shooting Victims Discharged From Hospital
UPDATE: Scott & White Memorial Hospital: 6 victims from Ft. Hood shooting discharged from their facility; 3 remain in serious condition.— ABC News (@ABC) April 3, 2014
04/03/2014 5:54 PM EDT
AP Identifies Victim Of Fort Hood Shooting
One of the victims of Wednesday's shooting has been identified as U.S. Army Sgt. Timothy Owens. His family told the AP that he was a native of Effingham, Ill.
04/03/2014 5:38 PM EDT
Fort Hood Does Little To Keep Out Firearms
According to the NYT, Fort Hood does very little to keep guns off the military base.
"Fort Hood’s weapons rules for soldiers who are not police officers rely in large part on the honor system," the Times reports.
The base does not require entrants to go through a metal detector or any similar screening, a source told the Times.
For more, click here.
04/03/2014 4:52 PM EDT
Family Of Fort Hood Gunman Reportedly Didn't Know He Was Being Treated For Mental Problems
He [Lopez] sought help for depression and anxiety and was being evaluated for post-traumatic stress disorder, military officials said. But Army Secretary John McHugh said Thursday that a psychiatrist last month found no violent or suicidal tendencies. The soldier was prescribed Ambien for a sleeping problem.
He had no apparent links to extremists, McHugh said.
Glidden Lopez Torres, who is not related to the gunman but identified himself as a family friend speaking on behalf of the soldier's family in Puerto Rico, said Lopez's mother died of a heart attack in November.
Lopez was close to her and was apparently upset that he was granted only a short leave — 24 hours, later extended to two days — to go to her funeral, which was delayed for nearly a week so he could make it, the family spokesman said.
The family was not aware that Lopez was receiving any treatment for mental problems, the spokesman said.