Following the second Fort Hood massacre in five years, the post’s commanding general, Lt. General Mark Milley, told reporters on Thursday that the root cause of the attack was attacker Ivan Lopez’s mental illness:
We have very strong evidence that [Lopez] had a medical history that indicates an unstable psychiatric or psychological condition. We’re going through all records to ensure that is, in fact, correct. But we believe that to be the fundamental underlying causal factor [in the massacre].
Lopez was undergoing a number of treatments for depression, anxiety, and sleeplessness, including being prescribed Ambien, a well-known sleep aid. What isn’t as well known is the long list of potential negative side effects of taking Ambien, including:
• Hallucinations, through all physical senses, of varying intensity
• Altered thought patterns
• Impaired judgment and reasoning
• Uninhibited extroversion in social or interpersonal settings, and
• Increased impulsivity
A brief review of Lopez’s behavior just before he started shooting reveals a potential link between at least three of these negative side effects. This is how The Telegraph reported the last 15 minutes of Lopez’s earthly existence:
At 4pm on Wednesday Lopez, who was in uniform, reportedly argued with other soldiers at a Medical Brigade building, then got into a vehicle firing several shots out the window as he drove away.
He then entered another building belonging to the 49th Transportation Battalion and opened fire again with a .45 caliber Smith & Wesson.
Less than 15 minutes after the shooting began he was confronted in a car park by a female military police officer who pointed her gun at him from 20ft away before Lopez shot himself in the head.