Authorities say an active shooter is dead after opening fire on multiple people Friday at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, and at least 11 people were hospitalized.
Military Acts of Violence Linked to Psychiatric Drugs
- Marine Lance Corporal Delano Holmes (22), New Year’s Eve, 2006: He was working with Iraqi soldier, Munther Jasem Muhammed Hassin in Fallujah, Iraq, when they fought over Hassin lighting a cigarette that Holmes was terrified would alert assassins. He used his bayonet to stab Hassin to death. Holmes had been prescribed trazodone (antidepressant), Ambien and Valium (the latter both anti-anxiety drugs, also known as benzodiazepines). In 2007, he was convicted of negligent homicide.
- PFC. David Lawrence (20), October 17, 2010: Shot and killed Iraqi senior Taliban commander, Mullah Mohebullah, while guarding him. Lawrence was prescribed Zoloft and trazadone, two antidepressants that the FDA warns could make an individual 24 years old or younger more depressed and/or suicidal.
- Eddie Ray Routh (28), February 2, 2013: Shot and killed Chris Kyle, the former Navy Military SEAL who was the subject of the movie, American Sniper, and Kyle’s friend, Chad Littlefield, at a firing range. In February 2015, the former U.S. Marine was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison without parole for the killings. In late July 2011, a little more than a year after he had received an honorable discharge from the military, Routh, then aged 24, had been diagnosed with PTSD at the Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center and prescribed risperidone, an antipsychotic and generic of Risperdal, as well as the antidepressant, Zoloft, which is not recommended for anyone aged younger than 25 because of the risk that it may cause suicide. Routh’s father would later report that the cocktail of pharmaceuticals “made Eddie worse,” adding, “I ain’t no doctor. I ain’t no rocket scientist or nothing, but I could tell a difference in him.” He had various hospitalizations over the next few years, and was said to be “paranoid and impulsively violent” and was prescribed a cocktail of psychotropic drugs that included two powerful antipsychotics, Haldol and Seroquel and the antidepressant Paxil. He was also mixing prescription drugs known to cause aggressive and psychotic behavior with alcohol and marijuana.
- Aaron Alexis (34), Washington DC Navy Yard shooter, September 16, 2013: Alexis, a former navy reservist, had been prescribed the antidepressant trazodone when he killed 12 people and wounded eight, before being killed by police.
- Ivan Lopez (34), Fort Hood gunman, April 2, 2014: Iraqi War veteran, Ivan Lopez had been prescribed Ambien, a sleep agent, and psychiatric drugs for depression and anxiety when he shot dead three colleagues and injured 16 others before killing himself at the Fort Hood military base.
- Bradley Stone (35), Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, December 15, 2014: Iraq War veteran and a former U.S. Marine Corps reservist, killed his ex-wife and her mother, grandmother and sister, and the sister’s husband and 14-year-old daughter, then committed suicide. According to the Medical Examiner, he had both the antidepressant trazodone and the antipsychotic risperidone in his system at the time of his death. He’d also taken meta-Chlorophenylpiperazine, or mCPP, which is sometimes sold on the street as a substitute for ecstasy. Just one week prior to the murders, he had seen his Veterans Affairs psychiatrist, who cleared Stone as having no suicidal or homicidal ideation.
- Former U.S. Marine Gavin Long, 29, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, July 17, 2016: Long went on a shooting rampage, killing three law enforcement officers and wounding three others before being shot dead by a SWAT team officer. Long had filled a prescription for sedative hypnotic Ativan as recently as June, and also had prescriptions for Valium and the sedative Lunesta.