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'Verbal altercation' may have led to Fort Hood rampage: Army

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News Willmar,Minnesota 56201
West Central Tribune
'Verbal altercation' may have led to Fort Hood rampage: Army
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

(Reuters) - The suspected gunman at Fort Hood in Texas argued heatedly with fellow soldiers before going on a shooting spree that left three dead and 16 injured at the expansive U.S. Army base, a military investigator said on Friday.


The suspected shooter Ivan Lopez, a 34-year-old soldier battling mental illness, then turned the gun on himself in the second mass shooting at the base in the last five years.

"We do have credible information he was involved in a verbal altercation with soldiers from his unit just prior to him allegedly opening fire," Christopher Grey, of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, told a news conference.

"At this time, we have not established a concrete motive," Grey added.

Lopez purchased the weapon used in the shooting, a .45 caliber Smith & Wesson handgun, on March 1 in Killeen at Guns Galore, the same shop where former Army psychiatrist, Major Nidal Hasan, bought a weapon used in the 2009 rampage at the base where he shot dead 13 people and wounded 32 others.

Investigators from the military, Texas Rangers and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have interviewed more than 900 people to gather details of the crime scene that played out over an area covering about two city blocks, Grey said.

The three shooting victims were also identified.

One was Army Sergeant Timothy Owens, 37, of Illinois, who served as a heavy vehicle driver and had been deployed to Iraq and Kuwait.

Another victim was Sergeant First Class Daniel Ferguson, 39, of Florida, who served as a transportation supervisor and had been deployed to Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The third casualty was Staff Sergeant Carlos Lazaney Rodriguez, 38, of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, who served as a unit supply sergeant with deployments to Kuwait and Iraq.

The suspected shooter Lopez enlisted in 2008 and had served two tours of duty abroad, including four months in Iraq in 2011, military officials said. He had no direct involvement in combat and had not been wounded.

(Additional reporting by Chris Francescani and Victoria Cavaliere in New York and Ana Martinez in Guayanilla, Puerto Rico; Writing by Jon Herskovitz; editing by Gunna Dickson)