A soldier who shot dead three people and injured 16 others before turning the gun on himself at the Fort Hood military base was ‘not a wounded warrior’ but was being treated for mental illness, a U.S. Army chief has said.
The shooter, identified as Specialist Ivan Lopez, opened fire with a pistol at a medical building at 4pm on Wednesday at the base where 13 people were killed in a massacre in 2009.
The 34-year-old, who had suspected post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), then drove to another part of the base and fired shots from the vehicle, said base commander Lt General Mark Milley.
He turned his weapon, a .45 caliber Smith & Wesson semi-automatic pistol, on himself after a heroic female military police officer pulled her gun and approached him around 15 minutes after the first shots were fired, Milley said.
‘It was clearly heroic what she did.
‘She did her job and she did exactly what we would expect from a US military police,’ he said, though didn’t identify her.
Milley confirmed the married shooter had served in Iraq for four months in 2011 and was being treated for depression and anxiety.
Lopez, who previously served in the Army National Guard in Puerto Rico, was not wounded in action while serving overseas, but self-reported a traumatic brain injury upon his return to the U.S.
‘He was not a wounded warrior,’ said Milley.
‘He was not wounded in action, to our records, no Purple Heart, not wounded in action in that regard.’
He was also in the process of being assessed for post traumatic stress disorder, though Milley insisted he had not yet been officially diagnosed.