Fort Hood Officer on Shooting: We Believe Psychiatric Issues to Be ‘Fundamental Underlying Cause’

The latest official word on the shooting.

National Journal
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Brian Resnick
April 3, 2014, 12:40 p.m.

Fort Hood com­mand­ing of­ficer Lt. Gen. Mark Mil­ley up­dated the press Thursday af­ter­noon on the tra­gic shoot­ing that left four dead, in­clud­ing the shoot­er, the day be­fore.

After identi­fy­ing the shoot­er as Ivan A. Lopez, a 34-year-old Army spe­cial­ist ori­gin­ally from Pu­erto Rico, Mil­ley said, “We have very strong evid­ence that he had a med­ic­al his­tory that in­dic­ates un­stable psy­chi­at­ric or psy­cho­lo­gic­al [con­di­tion], go­ing through all the re­cords to en­sure that that is in fact cor­rect. We be­lieve that to be the fun­da­ment­al un­der­ly­ing cause.”

Of­fi­cials are still un­clear of the motive. “We’re look­ing in­to that, try­ing to fig­ure out what the trig­ger event was,” Mil­ley said. The Army will be pub­lish­ing Lopez’s ser­vice re­cord for pub­lic view­ing later this af­ter­noon. 

“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 and need to be — that they need to be helped with,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who was also at the press con­fer­ence. “But I think 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 had not been in com­bat, but was de­ployed to Ir­aq for four months.