Fort Hood official addresses shooter’s possible motives, health issues

Julia Brouillette

The soldier who killed three people and left more than a dozen injured at Fort Hood on Wednesday evening may have argued with another service member prior to the shooting, according to Lt. Gen. Mark Milley. 

.Milley, joined by Sen. John Cornyn, identified the gunman as 34-year-old Ivan Lopez in a press conference held Thursday afternoon. Milley said there is a “strong possibility” that Lopez engaged in a verbal argument with another soldier before the attack, yet there is no indication that he targeted specific individuals.

“At this point we have not yet ruled out anything whatsoever,” Milley said. “We are committed to letting the investigation run its course.”

Milley said Lopez was undergoing treatment for depression and diagnostic procedures for post-traumatic stress disorder.

“We have very strong evidence that he had a medical history that indicates unstable psychiatric or psychological condition,” Milley said. “We believe that to be a fundamental underlying cause.”

Mental health issues are some of the most difficult to identify, Cornyn said.

“Mental-health issues are the most vexing issues from my perspective in terms of how do we identify people who have genuine problems that need to be treated,” Cornyn said. “At the same time, we have to be very careful and not paint with too broad a brush and assume because someone has been in combat that they necessarily have those issues.”

Lopez served four months in Iraq but had not been in combat, according to Milley.