Fort Hood shooter's possible PTSD hits close to home for mom - KCTV5

Fort Hood shooter's possible PTSD hits close to home for local mom

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Three people were killed and 16 others hurt in Wednesday's Fort Hood shooting and the gunman eventually killed himself.

Ivan Lopez, 34, an Iraq War veteran, is accused of being the gunman. Army officials say Lopez drove a truck in Iraq and was not in combat. He was receiving medication for depression and anxiety and just last month saw a psychiatrist at Fort Hood as part of an evaluation for post-traumatic stress disorder.

For one local mom the soldier's possible disorder hits close to home. She lost her son to suicide and believes it's hard for some people to ask for help when suffering from mental health issues, even harder for soldiers.

Shawn Wright was a boy looking for his way after graduation.

"He was a very bubbly happy little boy and grew up that way," said Betty Wright, Shawn's mother.

He found it by joining the Army.

"Years after you can look back and see things now that you couldn't see that day," Betty Wright said.

He suffered an ankle injury during basic training and the Army sent him home. One night after eating dinner with his family, Shawn Wright took his truck and his father's gun and took his own life. His family still doesn't understand why.

"Really we don't. We stumbled across what we thought was a note, but it was not specific," Betty Wright said.

She believes many soldiers suffering from mental disorders don't seek the help they need.

"A lot of the vets today, active or retired or discharged, they don't want to talk about it. They don't want anyone to know that they can't handle it, that they're not manly enough to cope with everything that's happened to them," Betty Wright said.

Dr. Jennifer Osborne with Truman Behavioral Health says it's important to recognize symptoms. She works with PTSD patients.

Shawn Wright was not diagnosed with any disorder, but any mental health issue should be treated sooner she says.

"It's really when people shut down and not deal with the symptoms it can become problematic," Osborne said.

"What I think the military has to do and what the public has to do is say, ‘we're not going to judge you because you asked for help. We're going to help you,'" Betty Wright said.

Shawn Wright took his life 23 years ago. His mother says she and her husband speak about his mental health to help others.

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