Imaeyen Ibanga

TODAY   |  April 05, 2014

‘He wasn’t like that’: Fort Hood gunman’s father speaks out

"He must not have been in his right mind, " said the father of Spc. Ivan Lopez, the Fort Hood gunman. Despite the shooting, a spokesman for the family said the military has promised them Lopez will be treated as a soldier and recognized for his service. NBC’s Stephanie Gosk reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> new information emerging today about the shooter from those who knew him best. his heartbroken friends and family back home in puerto rico . stephanie gosk is there for us. stephanie , good morning.

>> reporter: hey, good morning, lester. the head of veterans affairs this morning here in puerto rico tells the local paper that he has concerns that ivan lopez did not get the kind of medical care that he needed, specifically, he's worried that psychiatrists didn't treat him in his native spanish. the family has released a statement saying that they blame ivan 's mental illness for the shooting. in the central square of guanahiya, a memorial recognizes the men and women from this small coastal town who fought in war. ivan lopez is among them, but now this town wants to know what happened to the young man they were once so proud of. in a statement, lopez 's father offers a prayer for the victims and explains that his son was undergoing medical treatment . "he must not have been in his right mind," lopez 's father says, "he wasn't like that." the home where ivan grew up has been mostly quiet since the news out of ft. hood broke. wilfredo ramirez lives next door. "i've lived here 14 years," he says. "they are good people. no one can say anything bad about them." ramirez fought in vietnam. his daughter died fighting in iraq.

>> and the base camp where she was stationed, that is where she got killed.

>> reporter: he wears the star the military gives every parent who loses a child in battle and a hat that recognizes his own service. the military is an integral part of life in puerto rico . for young people , there are few good career opportunities. enlisting is one of them. "being a soldier is an honor," ramirez told me. "we're u.s. citizens , and defending america is part of it." military officials assure the family that they will treat ivan as a soldier. his wife is in charge of funeral preparations, but friends of the family say that the family hopes she will decide to bring him back here to puerto rico to be buried. lester.

>> all right, stephanie gosk this morning for us. stephanie , thanks.