Author Topic: Ft. Hood Gunman 'Angry at Short Bereavement Leave'  (Read 242 times)

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Ft. Hood Gunman 'Angry at Short Bereavement Leave'
« on: April 04, 2014, 10:13:34 AM »
http://www.newsmax.com/PrintTemplate.aspx/?nodeid=563618


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Ft. Hood Gunman 'Angry at Short Bereavement Leave'
Thursday, April 3, 2014 07:49 PM

By: REUTERS

When Ivan Lopez's mother died last year, the soldier suspected of killing three people at the Fort Hood base in Texas told friends the Army gave him just one day to attend her funeral in Puerto Rico.

That brief allotted window appeared to compound his grief over a personal double-loss: The death in October of his mother, Carmen, a nurse, came soon after that of his grandfather, according to Edgardo Arlequin, the mayor of Lopez's hometown of Guayanilla.

"That was one of the reasons why he was very upset," Arlequin said. "They only gave him 24 hours. He was very, very close to his mother. His mother was a nice person and everybody in the town knew her."

No motive has been given for the shooting rampage, which officials said may have begun as a verbal altercation with another soldier or soldiers and ended with Lopez's suicide.

But a day after a incident that also left 16 people wounded, a portrait began to emerge of the suspect as a 34-year-old soldier struggling with mental health issues as well as deep personal loss.

Josue Blasini, a 36-year-old tattoo artist in Guayanilla introduced as a childhood bandmate of Lopez, said his friend had been deeply affected by his mother's passing and was upset by having to leave so quickly after her death.

"He said he wanted to spend more time with his family and friends to try to come to grips with what had happened," Blasini said.

The account by the mayor and Lopez' friend could not immediately be confirmed by Reuters. An Army spokeswoman in Washington referred questions about the issue to the chief of media relations at Fort Hood, who was not immediately available.

While growing up in Guayanilla, Lopez attended Aristides Cales Quiros Middle School and Asuncion Rodriguez De Sala High School, where he played drums in the school band, Arlequin said.

He enlisted in the Puerto Rico National Guard in 1999, where he served in an infantry unit and as a military band percussionist, with a brief stint in Egypt's Sinai peninsula as part of an observation mission, Puerto Rico National Guard Major Jamie Davis told Reuters.

Lopez went on to join the Army in 2008, and served several months as a truck driver in Iraq in 2011, according to Army Secretary John McHugh. He had no direct involvement in combat and was not wounded there.

Lopez arrived at Fort Hood in February. He lived with his wife and 2-year-old daughter in a modest blue-and-gray apartment building in Killeen, where American flags flew and "Welcome home" signs adorned the walls of a place favored by soldiers rotating through the base.

Fort Hood commanding officer Lt. Gen. Mark Milley said Lopez had "self-reported" a traumatic brain injury after returning from Iraq, although he had not been wounded in action. Before the shooting incident, he was being evaluated for PTSD, or post traumatic stress disorder.

"We have very strong evidence that he had a medical history that indicates unstable psychiatric or psychological conditions," Milley told reporters.

The Army Secretary told a Senate Committee hearing that Lopez had been undergoing a variety of treatments after being diagnosed with mental health conditions, ranging from depression to anxiety to some sleep disturbance.

But even as evidence of Lopez's struggles came to light, neighbors who knew him reported seeing nothing to indicate impending violence.

One former neighbor who lived across the street in El Paso, Texas, where Lopez had served as an infantryman at Fort Bliss, said the family lived a quiet life.

"I never heard them fight, or anything bad like that," said neighbor Noah Georges, 33, himself a military veteran. "I never saw any signs that he was suffering."

In Killeen, neighbor Mahogoney Jones, 21, said she last saw Lopez when he came home for lunch on the day of the mass shooting, the second such incident in five years at one of the largest military bases in the United States.

"He was calm. He petted my dog and then went back to base," she said.



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Re: Ft. Hood Gunman 'Angry at Short Bereavement Leave'
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2014, 10:26:58 AM »
Nut job.  Army knew it, and was trying to find a way to get rid of him, not treat him. 


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Re: Ft. Hood Gunman 'Angry at Short Bereavement Leave'
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2014, 10:56:08 AM »
Nut job.  Army knew it, and was trying to find a way to get rid of him, not treat him.
They apparently didn't treat or get rid of him - despite knowing of his condition: "We have very strong evidence that he had a medical history that indicates unstable psychiatric or psychological conditions," Milley told reporters.
For the safety of his fellow soldiers, shouldn't they have given him a medical discharge or something? (I don't know what the rules and policies are about such things, so I'm asking those of you with familiarity of the military).
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Re: Ft. Hood Gunman 'Angry at Short Bereavement Leave'
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2014, 03:39:14 AM »
They apparently didn't treat or get rid of him - despite knowing of his condition: "We have very strong evidence that he had a medical history that indicates unstable psychiatric or psychological conditions," Milley told reporters.
For the safety of his fellow soldiers, shouldn't they have given him a medical discharge or something? (I don't know what the rules and policies are about such things, so I'm asking those of you with familiarity of the military).

I defer to my US colleagues.

Over here, the answer would be no to the discharge. We don't dump our own. If someone is mentally unfit and a danger to their fellow soldiers, they are placed on barracks duty and required to be treated every day at a specific time. Note, the standard of psychiatric care in the army leaves rather a lot to be desired at times - private practice is far more lucrative and less dangerous. You get treated before discharge, there is no arguing with that. You will be held in beyond your term, should treatment require it (on full pay), and you have a minimum of two full work ups a year (psych included) for 10 years after you leave the service.

The regiment will also assist in the transition to civilian life - finding a job or training, helping with housing. Even little things like a house warming party or borrowing a couple lorrys from the motor pool to help you move. You are expected to provide the beer.  :laugh:
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