In testimony to a Senate panel yesterday Secretary of the Army John McHugh said of Specialist Ivan Lopez, who killed three people and himself and wounded 16 others at Fort Hood on Wednesday, “He had a clean record . . . No outstanding bad marks for any kinds of major misbehaviors that we’re yet aware of.” According to reports, Lopez was in treatment, including antidepressants and sleep medication, for anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
Gunman Had ‘Clean Record,’ With No Violent Sign, Officials Say (New York Times)
From the article:
“This was an experienced soldier,” said Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, the Army’s chief of staff. “He spent actually nine years in the Puerto Rico National Guard before coming on active duty, so he’s a very experienced soldier.”
Those who knew Specialist Lopez as a young man, obsessed with the high school band, were even more stunned to learn what he was suspected of doing.
“I cannot believe you are speaking about the same guy,” said Sgt. Maj. Nelson Bigas, one of Specialist Lopez’s superiors in the National Guard. “He was the most responsible, obedient, humble person, and one of the most skillful guys on the line.”
For a year beginning in 2006, Specialist Lopez was deployed with his guard unit on the Sinai Peninsula, watching the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.
Although Specialist Lopez apparently reported that he had a traumatic brain injury, Dr. Charles Marmar, chairman of psychiatry at New York University Langone Medical Center, said that the symptoms of traumatic brain injury often overlap with those of post-traumatic stress disorder. Diagnosing the problem relies heavily on self-reporting, he said.
Dr. Marmar said that most soldiers with post-traumatic stress or traumatic brain injury were not violent. “It would be tragic to tar the vast majority of war fighters, with or without PTSD or T.B.I., who would never commit acts of mass violence, with this act,” he said.