Ivan Lopez, the soldier who killed three men at US Army Forth Hood base before taking his own life has “could not have been in his right mind”, his father has said.
He has called for prayers for the victims of his son’s attack at Fort Hood in Texas on Wednesday.
A military investigator said on Friday there was evidence the soldier had been in an argument before opening fire, killing three and wounding 16 others.
But officials do not see his mental condition as the reason for the attack.
The shootings took place at two buildings at Fort Hood at about 16:00 local time, when Specialist Ivan Lopez, who had the same name as his father, is alleged to have walked into one of the buildings and opened fire with a .45-calibre semi-automatic pistol.
Ivan Lopez killed three men at US Army Forth Hood base before taking his own life
He then got into a vehicle and continued firing before entering another building and opening fire again. He was eventually stopped by military police, shooting himself in the head when confronted by a female officer in the car park, officials say.
The dead men were formally named on Friday as Sgt First Class Daniel Ferguson, 39. Staff Sgt Carlos Lazaney-Rodriguez, who was 38, and 37-year-old Army Sgt Timothy Owens.
“My son could not have been in his right mind. He was not like that,” Spc Ivan Lopez’s father wrote in a statement from the family’s home in Puerto Rico on Friday.
The motive for the shooting is unclear and Fort Hood’s base commander Lt. Gen. Mark Milley said on Friday that investigators did not consider his mental state the “immediate precipitating factor”.
In contrast, Lt. Gen. Milley had spoken the previous day of the post-traumatic stress disorder Spc Lopez had suffered after serving in Iraq, suggesting there was strong evidence he had “an unstable psychiatric or psychological condition”.
But in his latest remarks he said the cause “was more likely an escalating argument in his unit area”.
His words were echoed by Chris Grey, spokesman for the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, who said there was “credible information he was involved in a verbal altercation with soldiers from his unit just prior to him allegedly opening fire”.
But he added there was still “no concrete motive” for the attack and it might never be known why the shooting had taken place.
Fort Hood was also the scene of a gun rampage in 2009 that left 13 soldiers dead and 32 wounded.
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According to the US Army, there is a “strong possibility” soldier Ivan Lopez, who killed three colleagues at Fort Hood base in Texas, was involved in an argument before the shooting.
Lt. Gen. Mark Milley formally identified the attacker as Specialist Ivan Lopez, 34, who later shot himself.
He told reporters there was “very strong evidence” that Ivan Lopez, originally from Puerto Rico, had an unstable psychological condition.
Sixteen others were wounded in the attack.
Officials have said that Ivan Lopez had served in Iraq and was being assessed for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“There may have been a verbal altercation with another soldier or soldiers,” Gen. Mark Milley said.
Soldier Ivan Lopez killed three colleagues at Fort Hood base in Texas before taking his own life
“And there’s a strong possibility that that in fact immediately preceded the shooting, but we do not have that definitively at this point, but we do have strong indications of that.”
He also told reporters: “We have very strong evidence that he had a medical history that indicates an unstable psychiatric or psychological condition… we believe that to be a fundamental, underlying causal factor.”
Gen. Mark Milley also confirmed that the pistol used in the attack was bought from the same store, Guns Galore in nearby Killeen, where the soldier behind the 2009 gun rampage at Fort Hood purchased his.
Wednesday’s shooting took place at two buildings on the base at about 16:00 local time.
Ivan Lopez walked into one of the buildings and opened fire with a .45-calibre semi-automatic pistol.
He then got into a vehicle and continued firing before entering another building and opening fire again.
It was here that Ivan Lopez was eventually stopped by military police, shooting himself in the head when confronted by a female officer in the car park.
The shooting incident lasted between 15 and 20 minutes.
Nine of those injured are reported to be in intensive care, with three in critical condition.
The shooting has shocked America’s political and military community.
President Barack Obama said: “To see this unspeakable, senseless violence happen in a place where they’re supposed to feel safe – home base – is tragic.”
Fort Hood was the scene of a gun rampage in 2009 that left 13 soldiers dead and 32 wounded.
Maj. Nidal Hasan was sentenced to death last September for that attack.
It was the deadliest attack on a domestic military installation in US history.
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Four soldiers were dead, including gunman, and 16 others injured in a shooting at the US Army’s Fort Hood base in Texas, the military says.
Media named the suspect as soldier Ivan Lopez, 34, although his identity has not been officially confirmed.
Ivan Lopez took his own life with a .45-caliber Smith and Wesson semi-automatic pistol, officials say.
He had served in Iraq and had mental health problems, officials said.
President Barack Obama said he was “heartbroken” over the attack. A gun rampage at the same base in 2009 left thirteen soldiers dead and 32 wounded. Maj. Nidal Hasan was sentenced to death for that attack.
Four soldiers were dead, including gunman, and 16 others injured in a shooting at the US Army’s Fort Hood base in Texas (photo CNN)
US military spokesman Lt Gen Mark Milley told reporters that there was so far no indication that Wednesday’s shootings were related to terrorism.
He said the suspect had not been injured when he served in Iraq in 2011, but was being assessed to see if he had post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The suspect was being treated for depression and anxiety, Mark Milley added.
The general said that it was not clear if the attack was premeditated and those wounded and killed were all members of the military.
The soldier drove to two buildings on the base and opened fire before he was stopped by military police, in an incident that lasted between 15 and 20 minutes.
He then shot himself in the head with a .45-calibre semi-automatic pistol. Officials say the weapon had been bought in a local store.
Barack Obama told reporters in Chicago: “I want to just assure all of us we are going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.”
He said Ford Hood had sacrificed so much for freedom.
“We know these families. We know their incredible service to our country and the sacrifices that they make. Obviously our thoughts and prayers… are with the entire community,” the president said.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called the shooting a “terrible tragedy.
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