Iraq veteran behind deadly shooting at Fort Hood

Washington, April 4 (IANS/EFE) US Army soldier Ivan Lopez, who had been deployed in Iraq, has been identified as the attacker who killed three people and wounded 16 others before killing himself in a rampage at the sprawling Fort Hood military base in Texas.

US Representative Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, has confirmed the identity of the shooter.

Lopez had been evaluated for post-traumatic stress, but that diagnosis had not been confirmed, according to the senior officer at Fort Hood, Lt. Gen. Mark Milley.

Military sources told the media that Lopez was wearing the army’s standard camouflage uniform when he entered a building on the base Wednesday and opened fire.

After shooting a number of people there with a semiautomatic .45 caliber pistol, the attacker returned to his vehicle, fired several more times from his car and then opened fire at another building on the base.

Milley said that the assailant committed suicide when he encountered soldiers with the military police.

Lopez had come to Fort Hood in February from another military installation.

The Dallas Morning News reported that Lopez was married and had served in Iraq as a truck driver for four months in 2011.

Except for members of the military police, personnel at Fort Hood and on all US military bases are not authorised to carry either military or personal weapons while they are at those facilities.

In November 2009, Fort Hood was where Army Maj. Nidal Hazan, a psychologist, murdered 13 people and wounded more than 30 others in another mass shooting.

Restrictions on the carrying of personal weapons were broadened after the 2009 attack and the current regulations say that soldiers must register their weapons with the base command and keep them in a secure location.

Milley said that the weapon used Wednesday by the attacker was not registered.

–IANS/EFE

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