When the news broke that the Iván López that opened fire at Ft. Hood was their Iván López, Guayanilla shook with disbelief.
This was the man who, as a boy, had run around their streets, had played music in their school band and had always given signs of being a good, well-mannered Catholic. His mother, a full-time nurse, ran the catechism center at the local Juan XXIII church.
Guayanilla (gwah-yah-NEE-yah) is a fishing town with an area of just 42 square miles.
Bathed by the Caribbean Sea on the southern coast of Puerto Rico, it is known for its beautiful sandy beaches. Sugar cane plantations surround the town, founded in 1833 and now inhabited by some 21,000 people.
It’s the kind of town where everybody knows everybody, or somebody knows somebody who knows somebody.
His classmates from the Asuncion Rodriguez de Sala school remember López as a quiet, passive young man, with a particular love of music. The friends of the family say they just can’t get their heads around this.
“This is astonishing, here in Guayanilla everybody is in total shock. Nobody expects this from such a tight family," said Edgar Ruiz, a close friend of the family. "Some still don’t believe it, they think it’s all a dream.”
As of Thursday afternoon, the members of the López’s family (dad, two brothers and one sister) stayed out of the public eye. Friends told Fox News Latino that they had all left town in different directions, just to digest the tragedy and avoid the media pressure that has already started to descend upon Guayanilla.
“We raised a good kid, somewhere [down the line] something happened that changed the life of this man,” said Edgardo Arlequin, mayor of Guayanilla and personal friend of the Lopezes. “What I know, from the seven, eight years that I taught him, is that from here he left a great human being.”