The gunman who killed three soldiers last week at Fort Hood, Texas, fired almost three dozen shots in just eight minutes before ending his own life, investigators said Monday.
Spc. Ivan A. Lopez, 34, got into an altercation with two soldiers Wednesday over the handling of his request for leave, Chris Grey, a spokesman for the Army's Criminal Investigations Division, said Monday at the post in Killeen, Texas. In addition to the three soldiers he killed, Lopez wounded 16 other military personnel.
Three people remained in fair condition Monday and were expected to stay at Scott & White Memorial Hospital in nearby Temple for several days, the hospital said. Two others remained at Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center on post, the Army said Monday.
Grey gave the first detailed timeline of last week's events, telling reporters that Lopez stopped to shoot people at three separate locations on the post, in addition to having shot at an approaching vehicle as he drove away from one of the scenes.
The shootings began at Building 39001 (red), continued at the motor pool (yellow) and as the gunman drove slowly along Motor Pool Road (green) and resumed at the Medical Building (blue) before he took his own life in a parking lot (purple).
Investigators recovered 35 spent shell casings from ball ammunition for a .45-caliber handgun — three in Lopez's car and 32 more at three locations on the post. The entire drama unfolded in just eight minutes from the first emergency call to 911, Grey said.
The initial altercation ended with Lopez opening fire, killing one and wounding 10 others. The first dead soldier and one of the initial 10 who were wounded were directly involved in the altercation that sparked Lopez's rage, Grey said.
Lopez then got in his car and started driving northbound in a southbound lane. As he drove, he fired into an approaching vehicle carrying two service members. One was injured. Lopez then headed for the motor pool, where he worked. "The subject shot one soldier in the office, who later died," Grey said. He wounded two others in the motor pool's bay area.
"We have only one alleged subject connected to these shootings, and he is deceased."
For reasons that remain unknown, Lopez then headed for the medical building — the same building where Maj. Nidal Hasan killed 13 people in 2009. As he approached the entrance, he shot and wounded another soldier. Upon entering, he shot two more, killing one of them, before getting back in his car.
At a parking lot, Lopez was approached by a military police officer who drew her weapon and fired when Lopez drew his, Grey said. The MP missed Lopez, who put his own gun to his head "and took his own life," he said.
"We have only one alleged subject connected to these shootings, and he is deceased," Grey said.
No motive has been established, but he reiterated that terrorism wasn't believed to have been a factor, he said.
The investigation has now shifted significantly to the Army's crime lab in Atlanta after investigators collected 235 pieces of evidence and interviewed or canvassed more than 1,100 people in the last five days.
Numerous vigils and services have honored the dead soldiers. The official military memorial at the post is Wednesday, to be attended by President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle.
First published April 7 2014, 1:56 PM