Media hounds family of man with same name as dead Fort Hood shooter

After an official released the name on Wednesday of the alleged Fort Hood shooter, reporters found a man by the same name in Arizona. Some called his relatives for comment about his death. Some posted his photo with the story.

TV stations went to his home and asked his wife if she knew that Ivan Lopez had been shot and killed. He hadn’t. And his daughter, who was standing nearby, started to cry.

This one, Ivan Hurtado Lopez, 32, lives in Phoenix with his wife and 9-year-old daughter. He attends a refrigeration technical school, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

The Statesman reported:

Ivan Hurtado Lopez had just left class when the first phone calls and text messages started to come in Wednesday.

“Hey, where are you?”

“Are you in Arizona?”

“Are you OK?”

As it happens, there are some similarities besides the name.

Ivan Hurtado Lopez is a former soldier who left with the rank of Specialist, the same rank as the real Ivan Lopez. Like the real one, this one also served in Iraq.

Ivan Hurtado Lopez also used to live in Fort Hood, where he was stationed for three and a half years before he retired from the Army, the Statesman reported.

It was a one in a million chance the two would have such similar backgrounds, said the wrong Ivan Lopez. But still, “I don’t want to be known as the Fort Hood shooter,” he said.

Ivan A. Lopez was the man officials said opened fire, killing three and injuring more than a dozen others before turning the gun on himself on Wednesday. But some didn’t get it.

Ivan Hurtado Lopez said phone calls came until 5 a.m. Thursday. TV cameras camped outside of his sister-in-law’s house.

Websites posted a photo of him that had run with a feature story in the Killeen Daily Herald in 2010. His face now appears online with the word “monster” next to it.

Ivan Hurtado Lopez was pretty cool about the case of mistaken identity, the Statesman reported, patiently explaining who he really was to TV and newspaper reporters.

But, he said, reporters should be more careful.

“My name is my name,” he said. “That’s all I have.”

It has shades of Richard Jewell, the security guard falsely who was implicated by prosecutors and news organizations in the July 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

Lindsey Bever is a national news reporter for The Washington Post. She writes for the Morning Mix news blog. Tweet her: @lindseybever
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Lindsey Bever · April 3, 2014