Saturday, April 5, 2014

Gunman Kills Three at Fort Hood Before Shooting Himself

In a scene eerily reminiscent of the 2009 massacre, three soldiers were killed and 16 were hospitalized on Wednesday after a gunman, identified as 34 year old specialist Ivan Lopez, opened fire on base and shot himself as MP's closed in.

Officials say that Lopez, who was originally from Puerto Rico and served as a truck driver in Iraq in 2011, although he saw no combat. Department of Defense officials say that they're fairly certain Lopez had no ties to any international terror groups, but he had previously self-reported himself for an undisclosed mental health issue.

The 34-year old specialist had also served in the infantry and the Army band and had previously served in the Puerto Rico National Guard.

Lopez legally purchased the murder weapon- a 9-shot Smith & Wesson .45 semiauto- at a nearby store that also reportedly sold Nidal Hassan his gun before his November 2009 killing spree on base, murdering 13 soldiers and injuring more than 30. Lopez was carrying multiple clips and the weapon was not registered with officials on base as is required. Although Lopez was reportedly taking prescription medication and being evaluated from PTSD, there was nothing in his background that would've prevented him from legally purchasing the pistol after a background check.

Witnesses say that Lopez appeared agitated over initially being denied leave to attend his mother's funeral in Puerto Rico. Army investigators also are looking into the possibility that a verbal altercation had preceded Lopez's killing spree. Fox News Latino reports that in a Facebook update from earlier this month, Lopez claimed that he was robbed and- more ominously- he posted in Spanish "I have lost my inner peace, full of hatred. I think this time the devil will take me."

Lopez's mother passed away in November and the Army initially denied him bereavement leave before issuing him a 24 hour pass after his funeral. In October, Lopez's grandfather had also passed away in his Puerto Rican hometown of Guayanilla.

The Army has identified the fatalities as SFC Danny Ferguson of Mulberry, FL, Sgt Timothy Owens of Effingham, IL and Carlos Alberto Rodriguez of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

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