Ft. Hood Suspect Was Being Treated for Depression

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 Nearly five years after the deadliest mass-shooting ever at a U.S. military base, the Fort Hood army base in Texas is once again in mourning over a senseless shooting spree.

A soldier being treated for anxiety opened fire at the Ft. Hood army base in Texas Wednesday, killing three soldiers and wounding 16 others before turning his gun on himself when confronted by military police in a parking lot.

Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, identified the shooter as 34-year-old Army Spc. Ivan Lopez.

Dr. Linda Mintle, chair of Behavioral Health at the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Liberty University, joined CBN Newswatch to talk about the effects of PTSD and traumatic brain injuries, March 3.

Army officials said McCaul walked into a command building wearing his fatigues and carrying a handgun and started shooting. He then got into his car and drove to another building, where he continued his rampage.

"I heard gunshots. We were all scared," eyewitness Antonio Ortiz recalled.

Ft. Hood senior officer, Lt. Gen. Mark A. Milley, said Lopez was transferred to Ft. Hood in February from another Texas army base.

Lopez, who was an active duty truck driver on the base, reportedly served four months in Iraq in 2011. According to officials, he didn't see any combat and wasn't wounded.

Lopez had been evaluated for post-traumatic stress disorder and was also receiving treatment for depression and anxiety.

Still, there are no answers to the question of why he started shooting in the first place.

"He seemed like a pretty good guy," Lopez's neighbor, Xanderia Morris, said. "I mean he was always smiling and waving whenever I saw him. So I didn't think anything strange and unusual."

Milley said the .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol used by Lopez had been purchased recently and was not registered to be carried on the base.

The shooting brought back memories of the mass shooting by Army psychiatrist Nidal Hassan in November 2009.

Hassan, who called himself a "soldier of Allah," was convicted and sentenced to death last August on 13 counts of murder and 29 counts of attempted murder. He later explained he was trying to protect Islamists abroad from American aggression.

Wednesday's incident has renewed calls for an end to gun restrictions for soldiers on base. Lawmakers as well as survivors of the 2009 shooting say the attacks could have been stopped sooner if others on base had their weapons by their side.

"If you have a weapon and you're on base it is supposed to be registered on base. We'll have to re-examine all of those programs and see if there were gaps," Milley said.

Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called the shooting "a terrible tragedy for the Fort Hood community, the Department of Defense and the nation."

"My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families," Hagel said in a statement. "And my sympathies go out to this strong and resilient community, which has experienced this kind of senseless violence all too recently."

"There is nothing more important to us as an institution than the safety and well-being of our people, and for that reason I am grateful to all the first responders who rushed to the scene," he continued.

"We will closely monitor the situation at Fort Hood and stay informed by what investigators and law enforcement personnel learn about the shooting," Hagel said.

President Barack Obama, who was attending a fundraising event for the Democratic National Committee in Chicago, told reporters soldiers need to feel safe at their home base.

"The folks there have sacrificed so much on behalf of our freedom. Many of the people there have been on multiple tours of Iraq and Afghanistan. They served with valor; they served with distinction. At their home base they need to feel safe," he said.

 

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Caitlin Burke

Caitlin Burke

CBN News Reporter

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