"Verbal Altercation" before shooting

, Posted: Fri, April 4 2014 at 3:27 PM, Updated: Fri, April 4 2014 at 3:33 PM

Fort Hood, Texas -- (NBC News)  Military investigators have confirmed that a "verbal altercation" preceded Wednesday's deadly shooting spree at Fort Hood.

"We do have credible information that he was involved in a verbal altercation with soldiers from his unit just prior to him allegedly opening fire," Army CID spokesman Chris Gray said late Friday.

One of the witnesses to that altercation was Sgt. Jonathan Westbrook, who was wounded in the shooting.

Sgt. Westbrook told his father Ivan Lopez came into the office to pick up a form to request time off, but was told to come back later.

Lopez returned with a gun and started firing.

"The first guy he shot right in front of my son was killed, and then he turned the gun towards Jonathan, aimed it, and fired. I don't know how many times he fired, but he hit my son four times," Westbrook says.

Lopez’s family suggested in a statement Friday that his transfer from another base in February, along with the recent deaths of his mother and grandfather, may have changed his mental state.

For hours after the shooting on Wednesday, Theodis Westbrook said he knew only that his son had been shot. He said his thoughts went to the 2009 mass shooting at Fort Hood, which left 13 people dead.

The father finally heard from his son at midnight Thursday:

“He said, ‘I’m fine.’ I said, ‘I’m coming over there.’ He said, ‘You don’t have to come over there. They have everything on lockdown. You can’t come. I’m fine. And the phone messed up. It went out. And so, I felt a little bit better because I heard his voice.”

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