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Psychiatrist assesses mental state of accused H-E-B shooter

4 months 3 weeks 2 days ago Saturday, March 26 2022 Mar 26, 2022 March 26, 2022 1:16 PM March 26, 2022 in News - Local

The last testimony in the case against the man claiming insanity in a deadly 2016 shooting at an H-E-B in Palmview was heard Friday.

The psychiatrist who interviewed Raul Lopez last year took to the stand to speak about what was going on in his head in the events leading up to shooting.

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"He thought people were talking about him,” psychiatrist Dr. Michael Arambula said. “He would talk to himself; he was suspicious of others. He thought people made fun of him, were trying to harm him… and it got worse around the time of the incident."

Arambula’s testified about what he read in police and medical history reports before the interview with Lopez. He said Lopez wouldn't answer many questions.

“He didn't remember anything and he claimed amnesia with some of the other experts as well," Arambula said, adding that the claims were inconsistent with previous statements over the shooting.

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"He remembered the glass breaking, people covering, going down for cover, shot many times and then reloaded, and didn't shoot the entire reload, and then left,” Arambula said. “I thought, in other words, that was a good recall of what he did."

Arambula referenced reports that said when Lopez was arrested, he questioned why he was there, how long he would be in custody, if he faced the death penalty and offered justifications.

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“He didn't want to hurt anybody, he just wanted to scare them,” Arambula said. “He was tired of harassing."

The defense made sure the jury was aware that much of what Arambula was reporting was from the reports he read, and asked why the psychiatrist didn't take the extra step of speaking to Lopez's family.

Arambula said his goal was to assess Lopez's fitness to stand trial. The symptoms the defendant described - insomnia, anxiety, paranoia - did not add up to a more severe diagnosis like schizophrenia or bipolar mania, he said.

"Unless somebody has a severe mental disease that interferes from knowing that it's wrong, then we automatically know that it's wrong, that's per my training, “Arambula said. “So, yes, he knew what he did was wrong."

The jury will decide if Lopez did know right from wrong.

Closing arguments in the trail are expected Monday, March 28.

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