Iraq military veteran open fires in Fort Hood military base

April 9th, 2014



For the second time in five years, a gunman entered Fort Hood on April 2, killing three people and injuring 16 others.


Army Spc. Ivan Lopez entered an administration building at the Killeen, Texas army base and opened fire. He then proceeded to get into his car and fire from the vehicle before stopping at another administration building and opening fire. According to CNN, one of the buildings Lopez fired upon was the medical brigade, while the other was the transportation battalion.


Lopez died at the scene as the result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound while engaging with police.


Spokespersons for Fort Hood and officers handling the investigation have stated that Lopez was being treated for depression, anxiety and sleep disorder. Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, the commanding general of Fort Hood, stated at the time of the shootings, Lopez was not being treated for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  However, he was undergoing evaluation for a possible PTSD diagnosis, according to ABC News.


Time Magazine reports that Lopez was denied a leave of absence on April 2, which has been deemed a possible motive for his rampage. However, military officials have not declared this as the motive.


Lt. Gen. Mark Milley

Lopez had been stationed at Fort Hood since February 2014 after being moved from Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas. Prior to this, Lopez was a member of the National Guard in Puerto Rico from 1999 until 2010, when he transferred to the U.S. Army. CNN reports that Lopez had been on two different tours as an infantryman. Milley stated that one of these tours included an 11-month stint as a truck driver in Iraq. Multiple sources reported that Lopez did not suffer any physical injuries while on tour, nor did he see any direct combat.


Nonetheless, officials who worked with Lopez report he was quoted as saying he suffered a traumatic brain injury while on tour. Military officials released statements detailing Lopez’s visit to a gun store in Killen, Texas. There, he purchased the .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol used in his rampage.


Recently, Lopez utilized social media to rant about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and the fear of an insurgent attack in Iraq. A post obtained by CNN from Lopez’s Facebook page displays his growing hatred. “My spiritual peace has just gone. Full of hate. Now I think I’ll be damned,” wrote Lopez.


The three men killed in the attack were all U.S. army soldiers. Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Ferguson, Staff Sgt. Carlos Rodriguez and Sgt. Timothy Owens lost their lives at Fort Hood. Ferguson held a door shut in an attempt to impede Lopez’s entrance and is being deemed a hero by his family and several officials at Fort Hood.


The attack comes just five years after the tragic 2009 massacre of 13 soldiers at Fort Hood by Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who was charged with 13 counts of murder, 32 counts of attempted murder and sentenced to death last year. Lopez leaves behind a wife and 3-year-old daughter on the base. A memorial service for the deceased, which President Obama is expected to attend, will be held on April 9 at Fort Hood.


Editor’s Note: Information from CNN, ABC News and Time Magazine was used in this report.