Mental illness factor in Fort Hood shooting
POSTED: Thursday, April 3, 2014 - 7:00pm
UPDATED: Saturday, April 5, 2014 - 11:22am
(KETK) - Tyler, Tx — It's the second mass shooting at the nation's largest army base in five years. Late Wednesday afternoon, a soldier at Fort Hood in central Texas opened fire on fellow service members. He killed at least three and injured 16 others before taking his own life. Now investigators are trying to understand why and how something like this could happen at the post again.
Wednesday the alleged gunman was identified as Spc. Ivan Lopez, an Iraq war veteran being treated for mental illness. Army officials say he saw no combat while serving in Iraq, and had showed no signs of violence when examined by a Psychiatrist last month.
Reportedly, Lopez was upset the army denied his request to attend his mother's funeral. They believe a verbal altercation involving Lopez took place prior to the shooting.
Lopez was being treated for depression and anxiety along with a variety of other psychological and psychiatric issues, leaving many wondering if further treatment could have prevented this tragedy.
From Sandy Hook to the Colorado shooting to the Giffords tragedy, these mass murders are becoming all too common so the question remains... What can be done to prevent this?
"There was a recognition there was a problem, he was being evaluated, he was receiving stabilizing medication, what more could have been done?" said licensed therapist Wade French. "I'm not sure."
"The more unusual and rare the event is the more difficult it is to identify it," French said. "How can you develop a test or an assessment protocol that is so sensitive that it can pick up something that only happens in 1 out of every 500,000 cases."
He says these shooters are depressed, angry and looking for revenge.
"They believe their society rejected them," French said. "And now they're rejecting it."
If the shooting could not have been prevented by mental treatment, what about military security? Fort Hood saw the largest mass murder on a military base less than five years ago, how could this happen again?
"It's on a military base, there's high security, this shouldn't be happening," said marine veteran Walter Everhart.
"Why he had a weapon with him on post is beyond me," said army veteran Matthew Branton. "I was stationed out of fort hood and I couldn't tell you why he had a weapon with him so as far as what was going through his head that day, I don't know."
If you or someone you know suffers from PTSD, The Green Zone in Tyler provides services and support for our Troops and their families through all phases of Military Life.