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By Claudette Roulo
WASHINGTON, April 4, 2014 – The three soldiers killed in the April 2 shootings at Fort Hood, Texas, have been identified while the search continues for answers that might explain the motive for the killings.
Army Lt. Gen. Mark. A. Milley today identified those killed as:
-- Army Sgt. First Class Daniel Michael Ferguson, 39, from Mulberry, Fla., enlisted in July 1993 as a transportation management coordinator. He was assigned to the 49th Transportation Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command, as a transportation supervisor. He had deployed to Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan.
-- Army Staff Sgt. Carlos Lazaney Rodriguez, 38, from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, enlisted in February 1995 as a unit supply specialist. He was assigned to the 21st Combat Support Hospital, 1st Medical Brigade, as a unit supply sergeant. He had deployed to Kuwait and Iraq.
-- Army Sgt. Timothy Wayne Owens, 37, from Effingham, Ill., enlisted in July 2004 as a motor transport operator, He was assigned to the 49th Transportation Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command, as a heavy vehicle driver. He had deployed to Iraq and Kuwait.
A memorial service is planned for April 9, Milley said. Further details will be available at www.forthoodpresscenter.com.
Six soldiers remain hospitalized, the general said. Three are at Scott and White Memorial Hospital in Temple, Texas, and three are at Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood.
Ten other soldiers wounded in the shootings have been released and returned to duty, Milley said.
“They're all strong, each of them is resilient, their families are resilient and ... they are dealing very well with a difficult situation,” he said.
Milley said he was “incredibly impressed” with the staffs at both hospitals and the entire response of the Fort Hood emergency responders and the community at large.
Investigators have started looking closely at the background of the alleged shooter, Spc. Ivan Lopez, the general said.
“We are digging into his combat experience in Iraq,” he said. “And so far, we have not discovered any specific traumatic event, wounds received in action, contact with the enemy or anything else specific that he may have been exposed to while deployed. But we are continuing to examine this line of inquiry.”
It does not appear that any of Lopez’ underlying medical conditions were a direct precipitating factor in the shootings, Milley said.
"We believe that the immediate precipitating factor was more likely an escalating argument in his unit area,” he said, noting that a detailed investigation is still ongoing.
“We do have credible information he was involved in a verbal altercation with soldiers from his unit just prior to him allegedly opening fire,” said Chris Grey, the chief of public affairs/media for U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command at Quantico, Va., and spokesperson for the multi-agency law enforcement task force heading up the investigation.
Investigators have not uncovered any history of criminal convictions or previous criminal activity by Lopez, he said.
“At this time we have not established a concrete motive, but we will do everything in our power to do so,” Grey noted. “Given that the alleged shooter is deceased, the possibility does exist that we may never know exactly why the alleged shooter did what he did.”
At this time, all evidence indicates Lopez was acting alone, he said. Initial reports of two shooters are now attributed to the chaotic nature of the situation and the alleged shooter’s movement from location to location, Grey added.
“It is critical to point out that we are not ruling anything in or out at this early stage of the investigation,” he said, “and we will continue to aggressively pursue any and all credible leads and information associated with this case.”
The crime scene encompasses an area of about two city blocks, Grey said, and includes three significant crime scenes inside buildings and three outdoor areas of focus.
"Those scenes are currently being processed by highly trained CID special agents, Texas Rangers and members of the FBI's elite evidence response team,” he said.
The investigation team is robust and multi-agency, Milley said. About 80 FBI agents and forensic specialists, 20 Texas Rangers, 50 Army CID agents, Fort Hood military police investigation teams and local law enforcement officers are contributing to the investigation.
“Additionally, we have specialists in medical investigations on hand to assist, and altogether we have over 150 professionally trained investigators from federal, state and local agencies,” Milley said.
(Follow Claudette Roulo on Twitter @rouloafps)
Army Lt. Gen. Mark A. Milley