The Associated Press
Niagara Gazette — ALLEGANY — An Iraq War veteran from Western New York was among the 16 people wounded during a shooting rampage at Fort Hood in Texas, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday.
Maj. Patrick Miller, 32, was wounded during the attack Wednesday by a gunman who killed three people before committing suicide.
Miller, who lives with his wife outside Austin, Texas, is a native of Allegany in Cattaraugus County.
His condition wasn't released, but a doctor at a Texas hospital treating some of the wounded said he doesn't expect any more deaths resulting from the shooting.
Miller's family did not respond to phone calls and emails Thursday. His parents, Carole and Dr. John Miller, were en route to Texas on Thursday, according to local media reports.
Miller was a twice-deployed Iraq veteran who graduated from his hometown college, St. Bonaventure University, in 2003 and earned masters' degrees in business and public administration from Syracuse University in 2009, his Facebook page said.
The soldier who shot Miller may have argued with another service member prior to the attack, and investigators believe his unstable mental health contributed to the rampage, authorities said Thursday.
The base's senior officer, Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, said there is a "strong possibility" that Spc. Ivan Lopez had a "verbal altercation" with another soldier or soldiers immediately before Wednesday's shooting, which unfolded on the same Army post that was the scene of an infamous 2009 mass shooting.
However, there's no indication that he targeted specific soldiers, Milley said.
Lopez never saw combat during a deployment to Iraq and had shown no apparent risk of violence before the shooting, officials said.
The 34-year-old truck driver from Puerto Rico seemed to have a clean record that showed no ties to extremist groups. But the Army secretary promised that investigators would keep all avenues open in their inquiry of the soldier whose rampage ended only after he fired a final bullet into his own head.
"We're not making any assumptions by that. We're going to keep an open mind and an open investigation. We will go where the facts lead us," Army Secretary John McHugh said, explaining that "possible extremist involvement is still being looked at very, very carefully."
Investigators were also looking into Lopez's psychological background. He had sought help for depression, anxiety and other problems, military officials said.
"We have very strong evidence that he had a medical history that indicates unstable psychiatric or psychological condition," Milley said. "We believe that to be a fundamental underlying cause."
Investigators searched the soldier's home Thursday and questioned his wife, Fort Hood spokesman Chris Haug said.
Lopez apparently walked into a building Wednesday and began firing a .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol. He then got into a vehicle and continued firing before driving to another building. He was eventually confronted by military police in a parking lot, Milley said.
As he came within 20 feet of a police officer, the gunman put his hands up but then reached under his jacket and pulled out his gun. The officer drew her own weapon, and the suspect put his gun to his head and pulled the trigger, Milley said.
Lopez grew up in Guayanilla, a town of fewer than 10,000 people on the southwestern coast of Puerto Rico, with a mother who was a nurse at a public clinic and a father who did maintenance for an electric utility company.