AUSTIN (KXAN/NBC NEWS) — A neighbor who lived downstairs from Ivan Lopez says she ran into him hours before the shooting at Fort Hood on Wednesday, and he seemed to be cheerful and having a good day.
Shaneice Banks,21, says she ran into Lopez when he came home for lunch.
Banks says she asked him how his day was going and he told her that his day was “going pretty good” and that he would see her when he came home from work.
“He seemed like he was a sweet guy…cordial,” said Xanderia Morris, another neighbor. “We’d smile and wave and that was it…he was always smiling.”
When the shooting erupted, Banks says Lopez’s wife, Karla, tried repeatedly to call him, breaking down in tears when TV news identified him as the shooter.
“It just blows my hair back,” Banks said. “I can’t believe it was him.”
Lopez’ wife was reportedly interviewed by FBI agents, which is standard in a case like this as investigators look for any indicators or signs that may have been missed.
Lopez, 34, was a married father who transferred to the post in February from Fort Bliss in El Paso.
As authorities delved deeper into their investigation of the shooting rampage at Fort Hood on Wednesday, they began to piece together a picture of the accused gunman.
According to the Army Secretary John McHugh, Lopez never saw combat during his four-month tour in Iraq in 2011.
The commanding officer of the post, Lt. Gen Mark Milley, did tell reporters Wednesday night that Lopez was on medication and was being evaluated for PTSD but had not been diagnosed. NBC reports officials stressed that it did not mean Lopez was not suffering from serious psychological problems — only that they did not appear combat-related, as is often associated with soldiers suffering from PTSD.
There is also no medical confirmation that Lopez suffered a traumatic brain injury. Milley said the soldier “self-reported” a brain injury.
Before he was assigned to the 13th Sustainment Brigade at Fort Hood, he served in the Army National Guard in Puerto Rico according to military officials. The Puerto Rican daily El Nuevo Dia reported Lopez was from Guayanilla and was a percussionist. El Nuevo Dia’s sources, who said they knew Lopez since childhood, told them his mother had died in November and his grandfather had died a month before that.
A Guard spokeswoman told the Associated Press that Lopez went on a peace and security mission to Egypt in the mid-2000s. He left the Guard in 2010 to join the Army.