Mental Health Not Precipitating Factor in Fort Hood Shooting

Created: 04/04/2014 7:22 PM
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) -- We're learning more about the moment Specialist Ivan Lopez opened fire at Fort Hood Wednesday. He had visited the human resources department to request a leave of absence. When he was told to come back the next day, he became irate, left, and retuned with a gun. We also know Spc. Lopez had underlying mental health concerns.

The pentagon says there weren’t any signs that Spc. Lopez was capable of such senseless killing, but he was reportedly dealing with mental health issues. "His underlining medical condition, we do not believe is the direct precipitating factor to the incident. We believe the more precipitating factor was more likely an escalating argument in his unit area,” said Post Commander, Lieutenant General Mark Milley.

However, the shooter's father is speaking out for the first time. He says his son couldn’t have been in his right mind when he opened fire on his fellow soldiers. "He was undergoing a variety of treatment and diagnosis for mental health conditions ranging from depression to anxiety," said Army Sec. John McHugh.

We’ve learned the last time he saw a psychiatrist was a month ago. He was in the process of being evaluated for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, something that isn’t uncommon, even for the recently deployed.

"About 10% from Desert Storm, 11% from Afghanistan, and upwards of 20% for Iraq vets," said Olmsted County Veterans Services Officer Nathan Pike.

He says the fact that Spc. Lopez had been seeking mental health help, would generally be considered a good thing. "A service member shouldn't be shunned because they’re going to get some help. If anything, it should be a good thing," said Pike. Though in this case, officials feel the argument played a larger role than mental health concerns.

On a positive note, we've learned 5 of the 16 injured have been released from the hospital. Others though, remain in critical condition.