Army: Lopez snapped over denied leave

| April 7, 2014

Fox News reports that the Army says that Ivan Lopez, the latest Fort Hood shooter was denied a leave request and that’s what pushed him over the edge to kill Sgt. Timothy Owens, of Illinois; Staff Sgt. Carlos Lazaney Rodriguez, 38, of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico and Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Ferguson, 39, of Florida and injure 16 others. I’m guessing that he knew it would be denied for some reason because 1) he bought the gun just days earlier, and 2) he took the gun to work with him to confront his leadership. After he killed one and injured 10 others following a verbal altercation, he got in his car and started shooting at people along his route;

As he drove, he fired his weapon at two soldiers, wounding one, Grey said. After reaching another building, to which he had been assigned, he shot one soldier, who later died, and then wounded two more soldiers. At one point, he fired at the windshield of an occupied car, wounding a soldier, then proceeded to a medical building, where he shot and killed a soldier at desk and wounded another person.

Fort Hood investigators say they found more than 35 shell casings along his route.

When he encountered a Fort Hood Military Police officer who had responded to the shooting, Lopez had a verbal exchange with her, Grey previously said. The officer fired a shot at him that missed, and then Lopez put his gun to his head and killed himself.

So, a good gal with a gun stopped him, it was pretty brave of her to do her job and face a guy who’d just shot a score of people all by her lonesome, so I won’t judge her by her missed shot. I wasn’t there, and I’ve never been in the situation. So, I’ll just compliment her for now.

I did get mad once when the company clerk wouldn’t give me a DA Form 31 (Request for leave) because he only had one form left. I’m sure Lopez knew his request would be denied, for some reason.

Category: Military issues

Comments (27)

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  1. Sean says:

    Since when has the Army denied Emergency leave for death of a parent?

  2. OWB says:

    Seems like it has been reported that he also lost 2 grandparents recently. Could be some heavy grieving going on there. (Not that grief excuses bad behavior.)

    We do know that he was on prescribed meds. Were I forced to conclude a cause, that is the first place I would look. But nobody asked me. Then again, don’t we all know someone who has had a bad reaction to a prescribed med?

    Do we perhaps need more medical supervision of the administration of drugs? Looking for things like an inappropriate response to disappointment.

    • rb325th says:

      He was on the most perscribed sleep aid in America. He was not on any type of anti psychotic medication.

  3. Slick Goodlin says:

    How did I manage to get through 12 years in the Army without EVER having a leave request denied?

    I think there’s a,”Rest of the Story”, coming.

    • CC Senor says:

      I got turned down back in ’66 while at Ft Carson because I didn’t have a good enough reason other than wanting to take a break. Despite giving up men and equipment to units getting ready for VN, the 5ID kept thinking they were still STRAC and needed to maintain a prescribed manning level at all time. Three days later, I got orders for VN and told the plt sgt I didn’t need a 15 day leave after all since I would be getting one for 30 days when I cleared. I wanted to tell him to kiss my ass, but an SFC still outranked a Spec 5 so I kept my peace for a change. Autry J Maroon never did get to take the 5ID to VN although a brigade did make it about 18 months later.

      • CC SENOR:

        I remember the 1st Brigade of the 5th Infantry Division (Mechanized) “Red Devils”!

        They were based at Quang Tri, Republic of Viet Nam.

        At the time, in late Spring and early Summer of 1970, I was a few miles North of there at Dong Ha in the 178th Maintenance Company, and each Sabbath, I would hitch-hike to and from Quang Tri to attend services of The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints (i.e., the “Mormon” church), as at Dong Ha, there were only two (02) other Mormons besides myself.

        The leader of our small Latter-day Saint group at Quang Tri was a Specialist Five combat medic in the 1/5th Mech.

        His first name was Bob, but I don’t remember his last name.

        From the perimeter guard bunker at Dong Ha, I could look at North Viet Nam, and watch EVERY night (!) as guys in the 1/5th Mech on Fire Support Bases Alpha Four, Charley One, and/or Charley Two were being attacked by the NVA.

        • I remember catching a ride from Quang Tri to Dong Ha in an APC, and the guy who had given me the lift, requested my extra ammunition (I was always armed, even when going to church), for they expected their fire support base to be attacked that night.

          After I gave them my ammunition, guess what happened?

          Yep, you got it – – – ,

          It was DONG HA that got hit that night, causing me to resolve NEVER again to give someone else my ammunition!

          Ain’t that something?

  4. FatCircles0311 says:

    lol @ being able to even request leave.

    Marine Corps you’re told when you are taking leave.

    • Former 11B says:

      It’s like that in the Army too. At least that’s the case in the infantry, it might be more relaxed at support units.

  5. Squid says:

    I’m not convinced he came prepared for a confrontation. There were reports that he posted something on his facebook page that he was robbed shortly before this all went down. It’s also possible that he got the weapon for self protection, had it in the vehicle, and then when the leave request went south, he had the weapon available and acted on impulse because he had had enough.

  6. streetsweeper says:

    *TESTING* a new browser, Jonn.

    It wouldn’t be that the contract security at the gates didn’t do their job, would it? When I was hauling USA equipment to Hood, the POV’s were given a light look-over while CMV’s are scanned for contents at the Clark Road gate. Just thought I’d toss that one out there for discussion.

  7. I don’t know how reliable the information is, but elsewhere on the Internet, I’d read that, in addition to the recent deaths of his mother and grandparents, plus being initially denied Emergency Leave (which was later granted?), Specialist Lopez had been subjected to bullying by his fellow soldiers, and the final insult was their joke of throwing human feces in his face.

    Also, and this may have been the biggest factor, Specialist Lopez was being treated with the drug, AMBIEN.

    This past Christmas, when I had my heart attack, during my hospitalization, they started to give me Ambien.

    However, one of the nurses quickly intervened, inquiring if I had ever received Ambien previously?

    When I responded that I had never been prescribed Ambien (so far as I was aware or could remember), they quickly warned that I should be given some other drug, as Ambien can induce violent psychotic hallucinations, leading to abnormally dangerous behavior.

    So, is it possible that the regular administration of Ambien, possibly combined with other drugs, might be the primary instigating factor for this episode of mayhem?

    • Is it possible that my beloved United States Army is creating a scenario, in a desperate attempt to conceal other, more pertinent, but embarrassing factors?

      If so, it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve seen them do so.

      • cav medic says:

        I’d bet my nuts it has something to do with him having nine years in the Guard, four years of active duty and being a 34 year old Spec 4.
        Anyone want to call that bet?
        And don’t fool yourself thinking has rank discrepancy is an isolated incident.
        The most dishonest and shamelessly crimnal disgraces to the uniform and service, NCO’s and commissioned, are FUCKING Over/Taking Advantage of their subordinates(good and bad) and abusing their authority without limit.

        • A Proud Infidel® says:

          I can vouch for that, some extra-shitty as well as crooked politician backstabbing excuses for NCOs were one of my reasons for ETSing AD in1994!

    • Just An Old Dog says:

      Ambien is a sleep aid. Ive been on it for a while. If you arent aware of its affects you can end up dozing off or being a bit loopy, but it doesn’t make you snap. Its just the opposite, you go to sleep.

      • Hondo says:

        Just An Old Dog: some people react badly to Ambien. While drowsiness is the most common side effect of Ambien, there are a number of other “rare” side effects, including:

        – attack, assault, or force
        – delusions
        – dementia
        – lack of feeling or emotion
        – thoughts of killing oneself or changes in behavior
        – uncaring

        Source –

        Dunno if this was a case of someone having a bad reaction to meds or not, and I just don’t think that bad reaction to meds is the major cause here (I’m thinking other issues were primary). But that possibility can’t be dismissed entirely, especially as a contributing factor. That’s particularly true if he’d just started taking Ambien, as side effects tend to diminish over time.

        • rb325th says:

          There have only been 2 recorded cases of people on zolpidem(ambien)comitting homocide. In both those cases I think you can find some cause to believe that there were other issues other than the drug itself that led to the murders.
          It is extremely rare… and even in those two very rare cases it is apparent there were other factors involved. Taking more tha nthe perscribed amount for one in both cases, and underlying mental health issues in one for certain.

          • Hondo says:

            rb325th: you are correct in that reactions including violence in those taking Ambien are quite rare. My only point was that they do exist, so the possibility should be considered and investigated vice dismissed out-of-hand as impossible.

            I don’t think that was what caused this guy to “go off”. But exceptionally unlikely things do sometimes occur.

            • OWB says:

              Several “other issues” are being widely reported. None of them should be dismissed as possible contributing factors without complete investigation.

            • rb325th says:

              I hear you, just adding in additional information on the rarity of extreme cases involving the drug.
              Also in the 2 cases, one of them involving the man who stabbed his wife 22 times, not only was he given additional doses beyond the perscribed dose by his spouse he had a long history of mental instability. ECT (Electro Shock) is one of those treatments only used in the most extreme cases now(not for someone who is just “depressed”). I am thinking he had some underlying personality disorder.
              The other case… the woman took triple the perscribed dosage, and apparently females seem to have had the largest number of severe side effects to the drug.

              • Former 11B says:

                Everyone has the potential to respond to meds differently. The VA put me on something once that made my anxiety skyrocket and gave me insomnia when I took it, I called the doctor up after two nights of that and got put on something else. When you start something new you have to be mindful of any changes or side effects and decide if they’re worth putting up with. Never be afraid to tell your doctor that something isn’t working.

  8. streetsweeper says:

    YEP! Even way back in the 70’s, never heard of a troop going south over not being able to get approved for leave immediately. Or, I was wearing rose colored glasses then. lol.

  9. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    Yeah, I read that he got a D on a report that he did in 4th grade, that he was crestfallen when he received it, and that he swore that, one day, he would get even. Why do I say this? Because it is no less ridiculous than is any other guess as to what triggered this murdering asshole to shoot innocent people who had nothing to do with his miserable life’s disappointments.