In Brief

Suspected Fort Hood Shooter Was Battling Mental Illness, Military Says

Gunshot holes in glass
Bullet holes in glass. (Image credit: Sascha Burkard, Shutterstock)

The suspected gunman who opened fire and killed three people at the Fort Hood Army base in Texas earlier this week was being treated for depression and anxiety, and was under evaluation for post-traumatic stress disorder, military officials said Thursday (April 3).  

Ivan Lopez, 34, is suspected of smuggling a .45 caliber pistol onto the army base before the shooting spree on Wednesday (April 2), which killed three people and wounded 16 others, Reuters reported. The gunman killed himself after he was confronted by a military police officer. Lopez's gun was reportedly purchased from the same firearms store where former Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan bought the semi-automatic pistol he used in a separate attack at Fort Hood on July 31, 2009. The 2009 shooting killed 13 soldiers and wounded more than 30 others. Military investigators have yet to give a motive for this week's deadly incident, but did rule out the possibility of terrorism.

"We have very strong evidence that he had a medical history that indicates unstable psychiatric or psychological conditions," said Lt. General Mark Milley, according to Reuters. "There may have been a verbal altercation with another soldier or soldiers. There is a strong possibility that that in fact immediately preceded the shooting."

Lopez joined the Army in 2008 and served two tours of duty abroad, including a four-month stint in Iraq in 2011, according to Reuters. Military officials revealed yesterday that the soldier had been battling mental illness.

"He was undergoing a variety of treatment and diagnoses for mental health conditions, ranging from depression to anxiety to some sleep disturbance," U.S. Army Secretary John McHugh told a U.S. Senate committee hearing, according to Reuters. "He was prescribed a number of drugs to address those, including Ambien."

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Denise Chow
Live Science Contributor

Denise Chow was the assistant managing editor at Live Science before moving to NBC News as a science reporter, where she focuses on general science and climate change. Before joining the Live Science team in 2013, she spent two years as a staff writer for, writing about rocket launches and covering NASA's final three space shuttle missions. A Canadian transplant, Denise has a bachelor's degree from the University of Toronto, and a master's degree in journalism from New York University.