As the nation mourns another shooting at a domestic military base, details on the heroes killed and injured emerge from Fort Hood.
Sgt. First Class Danny Ferguson had just returned from Afghanistan when Ivan Lopez, 34, opened fire on Fort Hood and killed three people before turning the gun on himself.
Ferguson died while trying to hold a door shut that would have led the gunman to a room packed with military personnel, his fiancee Kristen Haley, also a soldier, tells WTSP-TV.
A native of Mulberry, Fla., Ferguson graduated from Mulberry High School in Polk County in 1993. He played football, baseball, basketball and ran track. Mulberry High School teacher Joy Andrews told WTSP the five-sport letterman was destined for greatness.
Sgt. Timothy Owens, was shot in the chest and killed. Owens’ cousin, Glen Welton of Effingham, Ill., said Owens grew up with military dreams.
“He was one of those kids who wanted to wear camouflage and wanted to wear bomber jackets and sunglasses,” said Welton, himself a National Guard veteran of Iraq.
Owens dropped out of high school in 1995, according to his mother, Mary Muntean, and school records. She said he earned his GED diploma after joining the Army in 2004.
Owens was one of four children. Family said he had been previously married and had children from that marriage.
One of the 16 injured soldiers was identified by his wife as Sgt. Jonathan Westbrook, of McComb, Miss., the Associated Press reported. Renee Powell Westbrook said that her husband was recovering from wounds to the chest and neck.
Renee Westbrook said her husband was scheduled to leave May 20 for a six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan. “That has been put on hold, I’m assuming, because of this,” she said.
He had left Wood Forest Bank in McComb for stability and a career change, she said. Sgt. Westbrook’s parents live in Smithfield, Miss. He also has two sisters, she said.
Maj. Patrick Miller, a 32-year-old Iraq War veteran was also wounded, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday. Miller, who lives with his wife outside Austin, Texas, is a native of Allegany, N.Y. Cuomo said the shooting has left Miller’s home state “saddened and shocked.”
Friends told WGRZ that Miller is expected to make a full recovery after the gunman shot him in the abdomen. While his wife attended to him in Texas, Miller’s hometown buddies organized a prayer service at the Allegany Baptist Church on Thursday night.
A trauma center outside the base said the conditions had improved for three people who sustained critical injuries in the attack. Dr. Matthew Davis, trauma director at Scott & White Memorial Hospital, expressed optimism nobody else would die from their injuries.
Contributing: Associated Press
SOURCE: Natalie DiBlasio