Dispute Came Before Fort Hood Shooting, Witnesses Say

April 5, 2014

The soldier who is believed to have killed three people in a shooting spree at Fort Hood, Texas, had argued with fellow soldiers over paperwork shortly before violence erupted Wednesday, according to numerous accounts.

Base commander Lt. Gen. Mark Milley said Friday that the mental state of Spc. Ivan A. Lopez was “not the direct precipitating factor” in the attack, as The Two-Way reported. But Milley also said there had been an “escalating argument” in Lopez’s unit.

That dispute was evidently “over paperwork for a leave of absence,” reports the local Killeen Daily Herald. Lopez had been receiving treatment for depression and was being evaluated for post-traumatic stress disorder.

From The Washington Post:

“Witnesses and relatives of the wounded said Lopez’s fury was apparently sparked by a simple dispute over paperwork. They said the 34-year-old military truck driver became exasperated after he walked into a human-resources office Wednesday afternoon and asked for a leave-of-absence application, but was told to come back the next day.

“Lopez left, but returned moments later with a .45-caliber Smith & Wesson semiautomatic pistol and opened fire on soldiers in his unit, the 49th Transportation Battalion, killing two of them.”

The soldier then left the office and continued his shooting rampage, officials say, before turning his weapon on himself. (As we reported Friday, an MP is credited with helping avoid further bloodshed by confronting Lopez.)

More than a dozen people were injured in the attack. Fort Hood plans to hold a memorial to the victims Wednesday, one week after a deadly shooting occurred at the Army base for the second time since 2009.

On Friday afternoon, Killeen residents took part in a walk and a vigil in honor of those affected.

“It’s a way to show these families and those victims, or those that may be impacted by this tragedy, to show them that there really is a community backing them,” walk organizer John Stasulli told local TV KXXV news.

The names of the deceased were released Friday. In a report for our Newscast unit, NPRs Jennifer Ludden reports that all the victims were men in their 30’s who worked in Army transportation:

“All three had served in either Iraq or Afghanistan, which has added to the disbelief friends and family feel about their having died here in the U.S.

“Carlos Lazaney Rodriguez was from Puerto Rico, where his hometown mayor tells NBC he was planning to retire at the end of the year.

“In Illinois, friends tell local reporters the army transformed Timothy Owens, who went back and got his GED after enlisting.

“The third victim, Danny Ferguson, was engaged to another soldier. She tells WTSP that Ferguson was shot leaning against a door, trying to keep the shooter out of a room full of people.”

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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