I promised a follow-up on the recent Fort Hood shooting, when we knew more about the shooter. I have waited a few weeks, and we have found only dribbles of new information. So here’s what we know about the recent shooter, Army Specialist Ivan Lopez.
The recent shooter was native of Puerto Rico and served many years in the Puerto Rican National Guard as an Infantry Soldier. He had a deployment to the peacekeeping mission in the Sinai Peninsula, located between Egypt and Israel, during his time with the National Guard.
A few years ago, he transferred to the Active Duty force and his first station was Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas. From there he deployed on a short tour to Iraq; the Brigade he was assigned to helped in the final stages of the drawdown and redeployment from operations there. Reports indicate that he never came under fire. Early in 2014, he was reassigned from Fort Bliss to Fort Hood where he worked as a truck driver, not an Infantryman. He and his wife and children had apartment in the town outside the Post. They were both kind to their neighbors.
The shooter was under evaluation for possible treatment for Post Traumatic Stress. He was under treatment for depression. In the fall and winter of 2013, he experienced two deaths in his family: a parent and a grandparent. He had argued with his supervisors that day regarding a request for leave that had been denied. One of those he shot was a supervisor he had argued with regarding the leave request. He fired a privately owned weapon, which is only allowed on post if he’s taking it directly to or from the Rod & Gun Club. Otherwise, the only service members allowed to be armed on an Army Post, on any U.S. military base, are Military Police and Criminal Investigation Division, or the service equivalent in the other Services.
There were no connections uncovered to Islamic fundamentalism, radicalism or terrorism.
Those were the facts, what follows is a couple of inferences:
If this gunman was taking prescription anti-depressants, pain meds and sleep meds that were prescribed by separate doctors who didn’t verify drug interactions, there is a possibility that his combination of meds didn’t help keep him away from the edge the way it should have. When the second relative died, his meds may not have helped him cope as they should have. Anyone in a position to continue the investigation should ensure that this angle is not neglected.
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