National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Ft. Hood Gunman Argued Over Leave Just Before Rampage

View Comments ()
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    Five days after a soldier went on a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, investigators with the Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) confirmed Monday that a verbal altercation stemming from a request for leave led to the violence at the Texas post. (Published Monday, Apr 7, 2014)

    The soldier who opened fire at Fort Hood last Wednesday, killing three fellow soldiers and wounding another 16, had been involved in an argument about his request for leave just minutes before his deadly rampage, Army investigators said Monday.

    Chris Grey, spokesman for the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, also provided a timeline for the mass shooting that killed SFC Daniel Michael Ferguson, of Mulberry, Fla., SSG Carlos Alberto Lazaney Rodriguez, of Aquadilla, Puerto Rico, and Sgt. Timothy Owens, of Effingham, Ill.

    During his shooting spree, Lopez drove from one area to another at the Army post, covering the equivalent of two city blocks and firing randomly at soldiers, Grey said.

    Grey first confirmed that "alleged shooter, Spc. Ivan Lopez, was involved in a verbal altercation concerning his request for leave and the processing of that request at his unit's administrative office."

    Grey went on to outline the sequence of shootings at a half-dozen locations that left three dead and 16 injured.

    The shooting began after a verbal altercation took place at Building 39001, located at 72nd Street and Tank Destroyer Boulevard.

    "Within minutes of the altercation, the subject brandished a .45-caliber, semi-automatic handgun and fired multiple rounds killing one soldier and wounding 10 additional soldiers," Grey said. "The deceased soldier and at least one of the wounded soldiers had been involved in the verbal altercation with the subject prior to the shooting."

    Lopez then left Building 39001 by the south door and got into his car. According to witnesses, Lopez drove west through a parking lot to 73rd Street where he turned north and very slowly drove northbound in the southbound lane, witnesses said.

    Along the way, he fired from his moving vehicle at two soldiers who were standing behind Building 40001, wounding one of them.

    He then turned left onto Motor Pool Road and pulled into the parking lot at Building 40027.

    CID said Lopez exited his vehicle and entered the building where he was assigned and worked, his unit's motor pool office and vehicle bay area. Once inside, investigators said he fatally shot a soldier working in a motor pool office before moving to the motor pool vehicle bay area where he would shoot and wound two others, Grey said.

    Lopez then returned to his vehicle and drove east on Motor Pool Road toward 73rd Street. While driving east, he fired on a private vehicle occupied by two soldiers, injuring the passenger.

    He then turned north and then east into the parking lot of a Medical Brigade Building 33026. CID said he fired on and wounded a soldier walking outside of the building before exiting his vehicle and entering the building. Once inside, he allegedly shot and killed an on-duty soldier at the entrance desk before wounding another.

    Lopez then exited the medical brigade, got back into his vehicle and traveled south on 72nd Street.

    "At this point, we do not know why he entered that building and we may never know why," Grey said.

    From 72nd Street, Lopez and turned east into the parking lot for Building 39002, which is directly behind Building 39001 where the shooting began only minutes before.

    CID said Lopez then exited his vehicle and walked east through a parking lot where he was confronted by a Fort Hood Military Police Officer. After a verbal exchange, the MP fired one round toward Lopez, but missed. Lopez then pulled out his weapon, put it to his head and committed suicide, officials said.

    Grey said the duration of the shooting from the first 911 call to the notification that the shooter was down was about eight minutes in length.

    CID officials said there have collected 235 pieces of evidence, including spent casings in Lopez's vehicle and at various buildings around the post.

    Grey said the alleged shooter fired an estimated 35 rounds of .45-caliber ammunition during the rampage.

    Officials stress that there is still no evidence of any connection to any terrorist or extremist group, though that has not definitively been ruled out. Additionally, officials have not revealed any definitive motive for the shooting.

    Grey said an examination of Lopez's background reveals no criminal history or criminal activity.  Previously, Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, the commanding general at Fort Hood, said Lopez was being evaluated for post-traumatic stress disorder, but had not yet been diagnosed with the PTSD.  Lopez's father, in a statement released from his native Puerto Rico on Friday, said of his son, "he must not have been in his right mind."

    Fort Hood officials are planning a memorial service for the victims of the shooting at 2 p.m. Wednesday. President Barack Obama and other dignitaries are expected to attend.

    As of Monday afternoon, all but three of the injured have been discharged from Temple-area hospitals. The three who remain hospitalized at Baylor Scott & White in Temple are in fair condition and expected to remain in the hospital for several more days.