The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

National News

April 4, 2014

Fort Hood gunman had argument with other soldiers

FORT HOOD, Texas — The Fort Hood soldier who gunned down three other military men before killing himself had an argument with soldiers in his unit before opening fire, and investigators believe his mental condition was not the "direct precipitating factor" in the shooting, authorities said Friday.

The base's commander, Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, made the remarks about Spc. Ivan Lopez's health a day after officials said his mental condition appeared to be an underlying factor in the attack.

On Friday, Milley said that an "escalating argument" precipitated the assault.

Also Friday, Lopez's father said his son had struggled with the recent deaths of his mother and grandfather and the stress of being transferred to a new base.

Lopez's father, who shares the same name, said his son was receiving medical treatment but was a peaceful family man and a hard worker.

"This is very painful for me," the elder Lopez said in the statement from his native Puerto Rico, calling for prayers for the dead and the 16 people who were wounded in the shooting rampage. "My son could not have been in his right mind. He was not like that."

Wednesday's attack was the second at the base since 2009, when 13 people were killed by Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan, who had said he was angry about being deployed to Afghanistan.

Lopez, an Army truck driver, did a short stint in Iraq in 2011 and told medical personnel he had suffered a traumatic brain injury. The 34-year-old was undergoing treatment for depression and anxiety while being evaluated for post-traumatic stress disorder, base officials said.

But officials said Lopez did not see any combat in Iraq, and had not previously demonstrated a risk of violence.

He seemed to have a clean record that showed no ties to potential terrorists, though military officials said the investigation was ongoing.

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