Three victims of Fort Hood rampage named by family, friends

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Three victims of Fort Hood rampage named by family, friends
Former Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan wrote in a letter that "it would be an honor" to become a "citizen" of the Islamic State.
HARKER HEIGHTS, TX - APRIL 3: Memorial scribbles on the front door of the apartment of Carlos Lazaney, one of the deceased victims of the latest Fort Hood shooting, on Thursday, April 3, 2014, in Harker Heights, TX. Soldier Ivan Lopez killed three people and injured 16 others before turning the gun on himself on Wednesday. (Photo by Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
This undated photo provided by Glidden Lopez shows Army Spc. Ivan Lopez. Authorities said Lopez killed three people and wounded 16 others in a shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, on Wednesday, April 2, 2014, before killing himself. Investigators believe his unstable mental health contributed to the rampage. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Glidden Lopez)
This undated image provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety shows Army Spc. Ivan Lopez. Authorities said Lopez killed three people and wounded 16 others in a shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, on Wednesday, April 2, 2014, before killing himself. Investigators believe his unstable mental health contributed to the rampage. (AP Photo/Texas Department of Public Safety)
This photo provided by Glidden Lopez shows Army Spc. Ivan Lopez. Authorities said Lopez killed three people and wounded 16 others in a shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, on Wednesday, April 2, 2014, before killing himself. Investigators believe his unstable mental health contributed to the rampage. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Glidden Lopez)
This undated photo provided by Glidden Lopez shows Army Spc. Ivan Lopez. Authorities said Lopez killed three people and wounded 16 others in a shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, on Wednesday, April 2, 2014, before killing himself. Investigators believe his unstable mental health contributed to the rampage. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Glidden Lopez)
Lucy Hamlin and her husband, Spc. Timothy Hamlin, wait for permission to re-enter the Fort Hood military base, where they live, following a shooting on the base, Wednesday, April 2, 2014, in Fort Hood, Texas. (AP Photo/ Tamir Kalifa)
FORT HOOD, TX - APRIL 2, 2014: General Mark Milley, III Corps and Fort Hood Commanding General, speaks to media during a press conference about a shooting that occurred earlier in the day at Fort Hood Military Base on April 2, 2014 in Fort Hood, Texas. Milley confirmed that four people were dead in the shooting, including the gunman himself. (Photo by Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images)
FORT HOOD, TX - APRIL 2, 2014: General Mark Milley, III Corps and Fort Hood Commanding General, speaks to media during a press conference about a shooting that occurred earlier in the day at Fort Hood Military Base on April 2, 2014 in Fort Hood, Texas. Milley confirmed that four people were dead in the shooting, including the gunman himself. (Photo by Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama makes a statement to the press on April 2, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois, on the shooting at the Fort Hood military base in Texas. One person was killed and 14 others wounded April 2, 2014 in a shooting incident at Fort Hood, a US official said. AFP PHOTO / Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
FORT HOOD, TX - APRIL 2, 2014: A soldier watches over media as they prepare to hear General Mark Milley, III Corps and Fort Hood Commanding General, speak during a press conference about a shooting that occurred earlier in the day at Fort Hood Military Base on April 2, 2014 in Fort Hood, Texas. Milley confirmed that four people were dead in the shooting, including the gunman himself. (Photo by Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images)
Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, the senior officer on base, speaks with the media outside of an entrance to the Fort Hood military base following a shooting that occurred inside, Wednesday, April 2, 2014, in Fort Hood, Texas. Four people were killed, including the gunman, and 16 were wounded in the attack, authorities said. (AP Photo/Tamir Kalifa)
Members of the media wait outside of the Bernie Beck Gate, an entrance to the Fort Hood military base, for updates on a shooting that occurred inside on Wednesday, April 2, 2014, in Fort Hood, Texas. (AP Photo/Tamir Kalifa)
Members of the media wait outside of the Bernie Beck Gate, an entrance to the Fort Hood military base, for updates on a shooting that occurred inside on Wednesday, April 2, 2014 in Fort Hood, Texas. (AP Photo/ Tamir Kalifa)
President Barack Obama arrives on Air Force One, Wednesday, April 2, 2014, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., as he returns from Chicago where he attended Democratic National Committee (DNC) events and the University of Michigan where he spoke about his proposal to raise the national minimum wage. He also spoke about the Fort Hood shooting. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel speaks about the shooting at Fort Hood during a news conference on the flight deck of the USS Anchorage (LPD-23), an amphibious transport dock ship, after a tour with his counterparts from Southeast Asia April 2, 2014 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Honolulu, Hawaii. Secretary Hagel is in Hawaii to host a meeting of defense ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). A MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor V/STOL aircraft is in the background, (AP Photo/Alex Wong, Pool)
Local and Military police direct traffic outside of an entrance to Fort Hood following reports of an active shooting on the military base in Wednesday, April 2, 2014, in Fort Hood, Texas. (AP Photo/Tamir Kalifa)
Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, commanding general of III Corps and Fort Hood, speaks with the media outside of an entrance to the Fort Hood military base following a shooting that occurred inside on April 2, 2014 in Fort Hood, TX. Four people died, including the gunman, and 16 were wounded in the attack. (AP Photo/ Tamir Kalifa)
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By Lisa Maria Garza and Eileen O'Grady

(Reuters) - The three people killed in a shooting rampage at Fort Hood in Texas were all male soldiers in their 30s, friends and family said on Friday, as the military searched for a motive behind the second mass shooting in five years at the massive Army base.

Ivan Lopez, a 34-year-old soldier battling mental illness, is suspected of killing the three and wounding 16 others with a recently purchased pistol before turning the gun on himself at Fort Hood on Wednesday.

Among the victims was Army Sergeant Timothy Owens, 37, a recently married native of Effingham, Illinois, who was shot in the chest at close range, his mother-in-law told the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper.

Sgt. First Class Danny Ferguson, 39, from Florida, had just returned from Afghanistan and died while trying to barricade a door to keep the shooter away, his fiancée and fellow soldier Kristen Haley told Tampa broadcaster WTSP-TV. She was nearby when the shooting started.

"If he wasn't the one standing there holding those doors closed, that shooter would have been able to get through and shoot everyone else," she told WTSP-TV.

The third fatality was Carlos Lazaney, 38, of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, the city's mayor told NBC News on Friday.

The suspected shooter Lopez enlisted in 2008 and had served two tours of duty abroad, including four months in Iraq in 2011, military officials said. He had no direct involvement in combat and had not been wounded.

There was a strong possibility a verbal altercation with another soldier or soldiers preceded the shooting, Lieutenant General Mark Milley told reporters on Thursday, adding there was no indication that he targeted specific people.

The Lopez family, who live in Guayanilla, Puerto Rico, said in a statement that it is "dismayed" by the tragic events.

"This is a very painful situation," the father of Ivan Lopez said in the statement. "I ask for prayers for the affected families."

"My son could not have been in sound mind. He was not that way," he said.

'SOMETHING'S GONE WRONG'

The rampage is the third shooting at a military base in the United States in about six months that, along with a series of shootings in public places, such as schools and malls, has intensified a national debate over gun violence.

It has also raised questions about security at U.S. military installations, such as Fort Hood, home to some 45,000 soldiers and airmen assigned to the 335-square-mile (870-square-km) base, along with thousands of civilian employees.

"Obviously we have a gap. Anytime we lose an individual, something's gone wrong," U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters in Hawaii on Thursday.

Military officials have so far ruled out terrorism as the reason for the attack.

Lopez had been treated for depression and anxiety. He was being evaluated to see if he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, military officials said.

The shooting sent shockwaves through the Central Texas community in Killeen, where the base is located, that is still reeling from a 2009 attack in which a former Army psychiatrist, Major Nidal Hasan, shot dead 13 people and wounded 32 others.

Lopez, originally from Puerto Rico, had recently bought the gun he used, a Smith & Wesson .45-caliber pistol, at Guns Galore, the same store in Killeen where Hasan purchased the weapon he used in his shooting spree.

All of the wounded shooting victims were showing signs of improvement, Scott & White Memorial Hospital in Temple said.

"The three patients previously listed in critical condition have been upgraded to fair condition and are expected to remain in the hospital for the next several days," it said in a statement on Friday.

Five patients have been discharged, with one patient staying on through Friday for tests.

(Additional reporting by Chris Francescani and Victoria Cavaliere in New York and Ana Martinez in Guayanilla, Puerto Rico; Writing by Jon Herskovitz)

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