Officials look into Fort Hood shooter's mental health as investigation continues


by Kevin Reece / KHOU 11 News

Posted on April 3, 2014 at 7:03 PM

Updated Thursday, Apr 3 at 7:20 PM

FORT HOOD, Texas – Military officials have asked that no one jump to any conclusions about why the fatal shooting at Fort Hood happened. However, at the same time, they admitted U.S. Army Spc. Ivan Lopez, who is said to be responsible, did struggle with psychiatric issues.

His neighbors told KHOU 11 News they had no idea he was fighting post-traumatic stress disorder.

Sheniece Banks was Ivan Lopez’s next door neighbor. She was with his wife when they got the news of the shooting and that the soldier was dead.

“Last week, we had a shooting here and you know now we had a Fort Hood shooting. And this was our neighbor. It’s…..hard,” Banks said. “I just…I can’t believe it was him.”

“I’m still in disbelief about it, because this is not the guy that I always saw,” Xanderia Morris, another neighbor, said.

The commanding officer at Fort Hood confirmed Lopez, originally from Puerto Rico, had transferred to the base recently from Fort Bliss.

However, he wasn’t transferred here for psychiatric reasons, although they are pouring over his psych history now.

“We have very strong evidence that he had a medical history that indicates unstable psychiatric psychological condition going through all the records to insure that is in fact correct but we believe that to be underlying causal factor,” Lt. Gen. Mark Milley said.

The commander could not answer if those psychiatric issues had been reported to state authorities: Issues that might have kept him from legally purchasing a gun at the same gun store Nadal Hasan used back in 2009 – for the gun he used in that mass shooting.

But with flags at half staff throughout Killeen – the focus is squarely on those psychiatric issues now.

“My brother’s got PTSD and he was in the Army and he struggles with it every day,” Steve Franklin, a Killeen resident, said. “Everybody’s gonna have to start getting back to the military boys. They need to be the first priority you know as far as medical attention and stuff like that.”

Another resident echoed Franklin’s sentiment.

“I wish they would reach out and do a little bit more for our soldiers, because we see a lot of them that’s struggling,” Zondra Hendricks said. “All of us are just one big family and we’re all saddened by it.”

As for what specifically set Lopez off Wednesday, investigators are still trying to determine that through interviews with witnesses and the 16 survivors.