‘I think I’ll be damned’: Fort Hood gunman ranted on Facebook about being full of hatred in months leading up to attack
Rants about the Sandy Hook shooting and feelings of anger after a recent robbery and tour of duty in Iraq were posted on Facebook by Fort Hood gunman Ivan Lopez.
Details of his social media accounts were revealed as investigators try to piece together what caused the 34-year-old Iraq War veteran to shot dead three soldiers on the Texas army base on Wednesday.
The Iraq War veteran was being evaluated for post-traumatic stress disorder, and his posts appear to show he was struggling to deal with his feelings of anger and anxiety.
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Gunman: Army Spc. Ivan Lopez killed three people and wounded 16 others in a shooting at Fort Hood on Wednesday before killing himself. It followed a verbal altercation at a personnel office
It is not yet clear what drove Lopez to kill three people and injure 16 others before taking his own life this week, but he had a history of depression.
Posts about his feelings were made on a Facebook account that a family member has confirmed did belong to the gunman.
In one, written last month around the time he bought the pistol used in the attack, he said he was ‘Full of hate’ after being robbed.
The post, seen by CNN, stated: ‘My spiritual peace has just gone. Full of hate. Now I think I’ll be damned.’
In another post he ranted about Sandy Hook gunman Adam Lanza, condemning the 20-year-old who killed 20 children and six teachers, for wanting a ‘minute of fame as a villain’.
He added: ‘It is stupid to me that anyone can have easy access to a powerful weapon without being mentally evaluated. This makes the government indirect accomplice.’
Another post on his Facebook revealed feelings of fear from his time in Iraq, where he claimed to have seen ‘the most brutal explosion’.
It read: ‘Hours of agony waiting for an attack by the insurgency but we were able to exit Fallujah all alive. I was in vehicle #6.The worst was that #5 was a diesel truck, the perfect target. And I was only thinking about getting back with my family.’
Protection: Sgt 1st Class Daniel Michael Ferguson was killed as he tried to barricade a door to protect others
Loss: Sgt Timothy Wayne Owens, left, and Staff Sgt Carlos Alberto Lazaney Rodriguez died in the attack
Lieutenant General Mark Milley however said Lopez did not experience direct combat during his time in Iraq.
‘We have not discovered any specific traumatic event, wounds received in action, contact with the enemy or anything else specific that he may have been exposed to while deployed,’ he told CNN.
Chris Grey, spokesman for the army’s investigation, has not yet commented on the Facebook posts.
He said: ‘Given that the alleged shooter is deceased, the possibility does exist that we may never know exactly why the alleged shooter did what he did.’
Lopez was said to have possibly been upset about attempts to get leave from his job, and he was seen having an argument with three soldiers shortly before the attack.
The gunman’s father, who is also called Ivan Lopez, described his son on Friday as a ‘calm family man’ and said he may have been affected by the death of his mother at the end of last year.
‘My son could not have been in his right mind. He was not like this,’ he said.
‘Motive’: Theodis Westbrook said his son, who was shot, said Lopez had tried to pick up a leave form but was told to return another time. He left, grabbed and gun and then opened fire in the office
Recovering: His son Jonathan Westbrook was shot four times in Wednesday’s deadly incident
The father of Army Sgt. Jonathan Westbrook, who works in the personnel office at the base and who was hit by four bullets, said that the violent rampage was sparked by a verbal altercation in the office.
He said his son said that the gunman had gone to collect a leave form but was told to return the next day. He then left, returned with a gun and opened fire, Theodis Westbrook told WLBT.
‘The first guy he shot right in front of my son was killed, and then he turned the gun towards Jonathan, aimed it and fired,’ he said. ‘I don’t know how many times he fired, but he hit my son four times.’
The military has released few details about what motivated the shooting rampage, but at a press conference on Friday, the Fort Hood commander said they believe an argument was a ‘direct precipitating factor’ before the shooting.
The three people killed in a shooting rampage were all male soldiers in their 30s. A memorial is being held for the murdered and injured soldiers next Wednesday.
Among the victims was Army Sergeant Timothy Owens, 37, a recently married native of Effingham, Illinois, who was shot in the chest at close range, his mother-in-law told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Gunned down: U.S. Army Sgt. Tim Owens, left, from Effingham, Illinois was shot dead in the rampage on Wednesday. 38-year-old Carlos Lazaney, right, from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico was also killed
Life cut short: Sgt. First Class Danny Ferguson, pictured right with his fiancée, had just returned from Afghanistan when 34-year-old Ivan Lopez opened fire on Wednesday, killing him
The 37-year-old, who joined the Army in 2004 and served in Iraq and Kuwait, had been awarded three
Commendation Medals, four Army Achievement Medals, a Combat Action Badge, and Global War on Terrorism Medal, among others.
Sgt First Class Danny Ferguson, 39, from Florida, had just returned from Afghanistan and died while trying to barricade a door to keep the shooter away, his fiancée and fellow soldier Kristen Haley told Tampa broadcaster WTSP-TV. She was nearby when the shooting started.
‘He held that door shut because it wouldn’t lock. It seems the doors would be bullet proof, but apparently they’re not,’ Haley told News 10. ‘If he wasn’t the one standing there holding those doors closed, that shooter would have been able to get through and shoot everyone else.’
As well as serving in Afghanistan, Sgt Ferguson had three tours in Kuwait and one in Iraq, and had been awarded several medals, including a Bronze Star, a Kosovo Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Star, and Afghanistan Campaign Medal with campaign star, and an Iraq Campaign Medal with campaign star.
The third fatality was Staff Sgt Carlos Lazaney, of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. The 38-year-old had served two tours in Iraq and one in Kuwait, and had been awarded four Commendation Medals, three Army Achievement Medals, the Iraq Campaign Medal with Two Stars, among others.
Recovering: One of the wounded was identified as Maj. Patrick Miller, pictured, a 32-year-old Iraq War veteran from western New York, the state’s Governor Andrew Cuomo said Thursday
There was a strong possibility a verbal altercation with another soldier or soldiers preceded the shooting, Lieutenant General Mark Milley told reporters on Thursday, adding there was no indication that he targeted specific people.
The Lopez family, who live in Guayanilla, Puerto Rico, said in a statement they were ‘dismayed’ by the tragic events.
‘This is a very painful situation,’ the father of Ivan Lopez said in the statement. ‘I ask for prayers for the affected families.’
The rampage is the third shooting at a military base in the United States in about six months that, along with a series of shootings in public places, such as schools and malls, has intensified a national debate over gun violence.
Remembered: Crosses representing the victims of the shooting at Fort Hood military base are displayed outside Central Christian Church in Killeen, Texas on Thursday
It has also raised questions about security at U.S. military installations, such as Fort Hood, home to some 45,000 soldiers and airmen assigned to the 335-square-mile (870-square-km) base, along with thousands of civilian employees.
‘Obviously we have a gap. Anytime we lose an individual, something’s gone wrong,’ U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters in Hawaii on Thursday.
Military officials have so far ruled out terrorism as the reason for the attack.
Lopez had been treated for depression and anxiety. He was being evaluated to see if he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, military officials said.
The shooting sent shockwaves through the Central Texas community in Killeen, where the base is located, that is still reeling from a 2009 attack in which a former Army psychiatrist, Major Nidal Hasan, shot dead 13 people and wounded 32 others.
Shooter: Ivan Lopez, seen in this undated photo, has been identified as the soldier who opened fire on Fort Hood army base on Wednesday killing three and injuring 16 others before turning the gun on himself
Lopez, originally from Puerto Rico, had recently bought the gun he used, a Smith & Wesson .45-caliber pistol, at Guns Galore, the same store in Killeen where Hasan purchased the weapon he used in his shooting spree.
All of the wounded shooting victims were showing signs of improvement, Scott & White Memorial Hospital in Temple said. Five soldiers are still in hospital.
‘The three patients previously listed in critical condition have been upgraded to fair condition and are expected to remain in the hospital for the next several days,’ it said in a statement on Friday.
Five patients have been discharged, with one patient staying on through Friday for tests.
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