TODAY   |  April 04, 2014

Ft. Hood officials search for shooting motive

Investigators focus on new theories about what may have caused Army specialist Ivan Lopez to go on a deadly shooting rampage, including the possibility that a verbal altercation may have set him off. NBC’s Gabe Gutierrez reports.

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>>> we're learning more this morning about the gunman behind wednesday's deadly shooting at ft. hood in texas. investigators now focusing on several theorys to explain the motive behind specialist lopez ' rampage. we'll hear from friends in his hometown in a moment, but first, gabe gutierrez.

>> reporter: matt, good morning. military officials had said that the gunman was treated for depression and anxiety. and while investigators aren't ruling anything out, an argument on base might have led him to snap.

>> reporter: this morning in the search for what set off ivan lopez , military officials are zeroing in on something that may have happened right before the shooting spree .

>> there may have been a verbal altercation with another soldier or soldiers, and there's a strong possibility that immediately preceded the shooting.

>> and authorities confirm to nbc news, they're looking into whether lopez was upset he didn't get more time off to attend his mother's funeral last year.

>> he was upset, but didn't show he was upset.

>> reporter: he says lopez brought up the issue of delayed military leave earlier this week.

>> he was like, yeah, i have ptsd. and i said what happens when you have ptsd. he said sometimes i shut down. lopez joined the army national guard when he was 19, later signed up for the infantry in ft. bliss, texas. he was deployed to egypt and iraq as a truck driver. but military officials say he was never in combat. as his family left to grieve privately, they confirmed he bought his handgun legally at the same shop where hasan bought his weapon before the 2009 shooting rampage. once again, flags flying at half staff. among the injured, keisha fountain and patrick miller . among those killed. 37-year-old timothy owens, a counselor and ten-year army veteran.

>> i can't believe this has happened. i can't. what am i to do?

>> reporter: the three people wounded listed in critical condition this morning have been upgraded to serious condition. meanwhile, a memorial service is being planned here for next week. matt?

>> all right, gabe. thank you