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Hood shooter suffered from depression and anxiety, officials say

Apr. 3, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
Shooting puts spotlight on troops' mental health |...
Shooting puts spotlight on troops' mental health |...: USA TODAY's Gregg Zoroya talks to USA NOW's Carly Mallenbaum about soldiers' reaction to the Fort Hood shooting and their concerns about the stigma attached to soldiers who are treated for brain injuries.
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Alleged Fort Hood shooter Spc. Ivan Lopez. (Army National Guard)
Alleged Fort Hood shooter Spc. Ivan Lopez. (Army National Guard)

[UPDATE: Army Times incorrectly reported that Spc. Ivan Lopez was cited for having a personality disorder.]

Army officials said Thursday the soldier behind the Fort Hood, Texas, shootings suffered from sleep disturbances, anxiety and depression, but there was no indication he was prone to violence.

Speaking before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, Army Secretary John McHugh said the soldier, whom he did not identify by name but Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, identified as Spc. Ivan Lopez, had taken a variety of medications, including Ambien, for his mental health issues and sleep problems.

McHugh said the soldier, who served in the National Guard for nine years before joining the Army in 2008, was under the care of a psychiatrist but had not been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder nor had he ever been reported to have any concussions or brain injuries.

Lopez had deployed to Sinai for a year with the National Guard and to Iraq for four months as a motor transport operator. McHugh said Lopez was not in combat in Iraq.

“There was no known injury that might lead us to investigate the possibility of a battle-related traumatic brain injury,” McHugh said.

Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, commander of Fort Hood, said Lopez had been seen by a psychiatrist within the past month.

“He was not diagnosed, as of today, with PTSD, he was undergoing a diagnosis process to determine if he had PTSD,” Milley said. “That is a lengthy process.”

While it’s unknown exactly what Lopez’s mental state was, most life-long mental health conditions preclude those who have them from joining military service. In the mid-2000s, the Army broadened its waiver process in order to increase its force. In 2007, about a third of recruits had a waiver, either for weight or pre-existing medical conditions, including misconduct or substance abuse.

The shootings occurred in the 1st Medical Brigade facilities at Fort Hood. Four died, including Lopez, and 16 were injured.

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