When Army Spec. Ivan Lopez went on the shooting rampage Wednesday at Ft. Hood, Texas, killing three soldiers and injuring 16 others, he had just learned that superiors in Washington had rejected his request to take a temporary leave to deal with family matters related to his mother’s death, a federal law enforcement official said.
Officials had turned down an earlier leave request and Lopez was attempting to renew it, said the official, speaking anonymously because the investigation is ongoing.
The rejection, delivered Wednesday, set him off, the official said.
“He had put in for something regarding his mother’s death and some other matters, and it was denied,” the official said. “Or it wasn’t going to happen as quickly as he wanted it to.
“When they told him, he blew his top,” the official said.
Lt. Gen. Mark Milley said Friday that the “direct precipitating factor” in the bloodshed was an “escalating argument within his unit area,” not Lopez’s mental health problems. He did not say what the argument was about.
Lopez was being treated for anxiety and depression and was under evaluation for post traumatic stress disorder, officials have said.
Chris Grey, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, said Lopez had been involved in a “verbal altercation” just before he opened fire with a .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol he had bought in March.
He said Lopez began shooting at the intersection of 72nd Street and Tank Destroyer Boulevard on the Army base. He entered a building firing indiscriminately, then drove to another, shooting along the way. Grey said investigators were scouring three crime scenes in the buildings and three outdoors, in an area the size of two city blocks.
SOURCE: Richard A. Serrano, Adolfo Flores and Molly Hennessy-Fiske
The Los Angeles Times