'Escalating Argument' Led to Shooting, Says Pentagon
Ivan Lopez may have been upset about his request for leave
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2014 4:48 PM CDT
This undated image provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety shows Army Spc. Ivan Lopez.   (AP Photo/Texas Department of Public Safety)

(Newser) – A bit of clarity is starting to form about what prompted Ivan Lopez to open fire at Fort Hood this week. Investigators are backing up early reports that Lopez had an argument with one or more soldiers immediately prior to the assault, reports AP. And while Lopez's mental health issues may have played a role, it was the argument that set him off, said Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, reports the Washington Post. “His underlying medical conditions are not a direct precipitating factor,” said Milley. “We believe that the immediate precipitating factor was more likely an escalating argument in his unit area.” A CNN report adds further credence to the belief that the argument was about Lopez's request for a leave of absence.

The father of wounded soldier Jonathan Westbrook says his son was working in the office that distributes leave forms when Lopez came in and was told by an officer to return the following day. Instead, he returned a short time later and opened fire, says Theodis Westbrook. "The first guy he shot right in front of my son was killed, and then he turned the gun towards Jonathan, aimed it, and fired," the elder Westbrook tells WLBT of Mississippi. "I don't know how many times he fired, but he hit my son four times." (Earlier, the New York Times had a similar report, though it said that Lopez's leave had been denied, and that he became angry while discussing it with Fort Hood officials.) The Pentagon, meanwhile, has confirmed that the three soldiers killed were Daniel Ferguson, 39, of Mulberry, Fla.; Carlos Lazaney Rodriguez, 38, of Puerto Rico; and Timothy Owens, 37, of Effingham, Ill. Ferguson was a transportation supervisor, Lazaney Rodriguez a unit supply sergeant, and Owens a heavy vehicle driver. All had served time overseas.
 

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