On Thursday, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters that security gaps remain at United States Military bases as details continue to emerge on the suspected gunman Ivan Lopez, including his "unstable" mental health record.
There is no indication that Wednesday's mass shooting at Fort Hood, Texas was related to terrorism. However, a U.S. Army official said the investigation is ongoing, and no motive has been ruled out.
Army Spec. Ivan Lopez, 34 years old, took his own .45-caliber handgun onto the Fort Hood Army base and killed three people and wounded 16 more before turning the gun himself.
Army Spec. Ivan Lopez was active in the National Guard in Puerto Rico from 1999 to 2010, and left to join the active duty Army in 2010, National Guard spokeswoman Ruth Diaz said Thursday.
Lopez was undergoing treatment for depression and anxiety and was being evaluated for self diagnosed post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Lopez was deployed twice to Iraq, however, had never seen combat.
During a news conference earlier on Thursday, Fort Hood Army base commander Lt. Gen. Mark Milley said that investigators were trying to learn if there was a “trigger event” that drove Lopez to kill.
“It was mentioned yesterday that there might have been a verbal altercation with another soldier or soldiers,” he said. “We do not have that definitively but we do have a strong indication of that.”
In July 2012, a report on the FBI’s handling of the 2009 Fort Hood terrorist attack that killed thirteen and wounded 32 others evidenced the FBI missed important warning signs before the massacre and included several recommendations for changes to the agency’s procedures.
The report followed a two year investigation by former FBI Director William Webster, found that several warning signs were ignored by the FBI in the lead-up to the massacre. However, the report did not include any recommendations for changes to the agency’s procedures.
In February, 2011, a separate report by the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs titled “A Ticking Time Bomb: Counterterrorism Lessons from the U.S. Government’s Failure to Prevent the Fort Hood Attack” revealed that the massacre by Army Maj. Nidal Nasan could have been prevented.
The .45-caliber handgun used in Wednesday's mass shooting was purchased at Guns Galore, the same store where Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan purchased the firearm he used in the 2009 Fort Hood massacre.
Interestingly, the FBI credited the same gun store owner for contacting local law enforcement officials about a suspicious character in July, 2011, averting another terrorist attack at Fort Hood. The suspicious man was later identified as U.S. Army Private Naser Jason Abdo, an AWOL soldier from Fort Campbell, Kentucky who was plotting a copy cat attack.
In August 2012, Abdo was convicted of plotting a massacre of his fellow soldiers near Fort Hood, Texas and sentenced to dual consecutive life sentences.
Ex-Army Maj. Nidal Nasan was convicted on terrorism charges in the 2009 Fort Hood attack, and sentenced to death in August, 2013.