Officials at the Fort Hood Army Base in Texas are scrambling to gather details on why an Iraq War veteran open fired at the facility, killing three people and injuring 16 others on Wednesday. According to several reports, the lone gunman was seeking treatment for post-war mental illness after serving four months in Iraq.
Army officials did not released the man’s identity immediately, but did say he arrived at the base in February of this year and complained of depression, anxiety and other related issues. Although military records say the gunman was never injured in combat, he reported a brain injury to health officials.
Fort Hood commanding officer Mark Milley says the gunman entered two buildings on the base around 4:00 PM central time yesterday, and then began firing his weapon. Military police confronted the man, who was dressed in his full Army uniform, as he pointed a .45-caliber pistol at his head then pulled the trigger.
The married gunman’s name is said to be Ivan Lopez, according to an account from Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. The wife is reportedly cooperating with the ongoing investigation.
President Barack Obama said he was “heartbroken” at vowed to discovered what happened at the base. The president also remarked on a similar incident that happened at Fort Hood in 2009 where a gunman killed 13 people and injured 30 others.
“They serve with valor. They serve with distinction, and when they’re at their home base, they need to feel safe,” Obama said in a statement shortly after a meeting he had in Chicago. “We don’t yet know what happened tonight, but obviously that sense of safety has been broken once again.”
A local news team, KCEN, received an alleged photo of the 34-year-old Lopez from a Puerto Rican newspaper. Speaking with Lopez’s neighbors, they say the family just recently moved an apartment in the area and saw now signs of trouble. They were shocked that Lopez was named as the shooter.
“When the news broke and they announced the shooter, saying he was deceased, she broke down. She literally just broke down like she lost something. There was nothing I could say. I could only hold her, just to show her you have support. That was all I could do … I mean it was a big shock to everybody over here,” said a neighbor of the Lopez family.
Although Lopez’s motives are not yet known, Army officials have ruled out terrorism as a factor.