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UPDATE 1-Fort Hood Shooter Showed No Clear Warning Signs -investigators

Friday, 23 Jan 2015 03:36 PM

(Adds details from investigation report, quotes)

By David Alexander

WASHINGTON, Jan 23 (Reuters) - The soldier who went on a deadly shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, last year was under great personal stress due to family deaths, a career setback and financial woes but showed no signs he was about to explode, investigators said on Friday.

Army Specialist Ivan Lopez-Lopez, 34, opened fire at several locations on the sprawling military post on April 2, 2014, with a personal Smith & Wesson .45 caliber pistol, killing three soldiers and wounding 12 before taking his own life when confronted by military police.

Relatives told investigators that Lopez had been profoundly affected in the months before the shootings by the deaths of his grandfather and then his mother. Health problems had caused a career setback that forced him to shift from being an infantryman to a driver, the investigators said.

Lopez also had just shifted to Fort Hood from another base and was having difficulty getting approval for temporary duty while settling his family in their new location. He did not qualify for the relaxed status because he had already rented an apartment and moved his household goods, investigators said.

"It is significant that the first victims Specialist Lopez-Lopez shot were directly involved in the processing of his PTDY (permissive temporary duty) request," Lieutenant General Joseph Martz wrote in a redacted 110-page investigation report that was released on Friday.

But Martz, who led the team of investigators that looked into the incident, also said: "We find no indication in his medical and personnel records suggesting Specialist Lopez-Lopez was likely to commit a violent act."

The investigators concluded that Lopez's commanders would have had little way of knowing about the soldier's personal difficulties and providing help unless he chose to tell someone about them.

"Since risk assessment tools depend on self-reporting, they are subject to the soldier's willingness to identify risk factors accurately," the report said.

The report recommended that the Army look at ways to improve interaction between leadership and new soldiers arriving in their commands. It also recommended examining whether soldiers should be required to register personally owned weapons with their command.

Lopez, originally from Puerto Rico, had recently purchased two personal weapons, including the .45 caliber pistol used in the attack, the Army said.

The shooting by Lopez came just four years after Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Hasan went on a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, killing 13 people and wounding 32. (Reporting by David Alexander; Editing by Christian Plumb)

© 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

 
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