PHOENIX — Valley military veteran Ivan Lopez’s wife, Ysabel, was shocked when reporters asked if she was aware Lopez shot and killed himself.
“My daughter was within hearing distance and heard that and just started crying,” Lopez said. “I’m resentful, yes. It takes a lot to get to me but my thing was that’s my daughter.”
The 32-year-old Army specialist, who now lives in Phoenix, was stationed at Fort Hood between September 2007 and March 2011. A man by the same name is the alleged Fort Hood shooter, who shot and killed three, wounded 16 more before taking his own life on April 2.
“What are the chances? It has to be one in a million,” Lopez said, shocked by the similarity between him and the shooter. “We have similar birthdays. We’re like two years apart and just being in Fort Hood with the same rank and same name.”
In 2011, Lopez retired from the United States Army because he developed diabetes but many friends were unaware.
“I started getting phone calls from everyone saying, ‘Hey man, another shooting happened and this guy’s name is Ivan Lopez as well. Are you okay? It’s not you is it?'”
Lopez called and texted friends and family to clarify that he was not the shooter. Then reporters started calling.
“I started getting phone calls from random newspapers out of Texas and news media out of New York and California,” he said.
The calls kept coming.
“My phone was non-stop ringing until 4 a.m. the following morning.”
Lopez said he patiently explained the coincidence to every media outlet that called.
“I told them that I was in the service, I did serve in Fort Hood, but, I’m not the shooter. I’m in Phoenix.”
Then a photo of him, taken by the Killeen Daily Herald in 2010, started showing up on the web. Many people posted Lopez’s picture on social media attributing the Fort Hood shooting to him.
“People were just cutting and pasting that photo off the Internet and uploading it everywhere.”
Lopez said he’s trying to laugh off the mistakes but needs to restore his reputation.