As the Fort Hood community comes to terms with the deaths of friends and colleagues in Wednesday’s shootings, information began to emerge about some of the victims.
Sgt. 1st Class Danny Ferguson
One of the three soldiers killed in the rampage died while trying to hold a door shut that would have led the gunman to a room packed with military personnel, his fiancee says.
The alleged gunman, Spc. Ivan Lopez, later shot and killed himself. Sgt. 1st Class Danny Ferguson, a native of Mulberry, Fla., who had just returned from Afghanistan, died while trying to keep the shooter out of the room, Kristen Haley, also a soldier, told WTSP-TV.
“He held that door shut because it wouldn’t lock,” Haley, who was nearby when the shooting broke out, told the Tampa TV station. “It seems the doors would be bullet proof, but apparently they’re not, If he wasn’t the one standing there holding those doors closed, that shooter would have been able to get through and shoot everyone else.”
Ferguson joined the Army in July 1993 and had deployed twice to Kuwait as well as to Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a service record provided by the Army.
He was awarded the Bronze Star, three Meritorious Service Medals, five Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals, six Good Conduct Medals, two National Defense Service Medals, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and the Kosovo Campaign Medal with a bronze service star, among other awards.
Sgt. Timothy Owens
Family members told The Associated Press that one of the victims was Sgt. Timothy Owens, a native of Effingham, Ill.
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 joined the army in 2004 and had served in Iraq and Kuwait, according to the Army.
Owens’ mother, 77-year-old Mary Muntean of Effingham, learned of her son’s death in a particularly heartbreaking manner.
Just two weeks earlier, she had been reunited with a daughter she gave up for adoption at birth.
She told AP that she was still celebrating when she got a call telling her that her son had been killed Wednesday in the attack.
“She finds one child and loses another,” said Betty Goodwin, Muntean’s niece and Owens’ cousin.
Owens was awarded three Army Commendation Medals, four Army Achievement Medals, two Good Conduct Medals and the Combat Action Badge, among other awards.
Staff Sgt. Carlos Alberto Lazaney Rodriguez
Staff Sgt. Carlos Alberto Lazaney Rodriguez, a 38-year-old native of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, joined the Army in January 1994 as a unit supply specialist in the quartermaster corps, according to the Army. He served on active duty until January 1997, then was an inactive reservist until April 1997, when he began serving with 311 Quartermaster Company in his hometown. He reenlisted in the active-duty Army in August 1998 and had been assigned to 21st Combat Support Hospital, 1st Medical Brigade at Fort Hood since February 2012.
Rodriguez deployed to Kuwait from December 1998 to April 1999, and to Iraq from April 2007 to April 2008 and again in July 2009 to July 2010.
He was awarded four Army Commendation Medals, three Army Achievement Medals, six Good Conduct Medals and the Combat Action Badge, among other awards.
In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo identified one of the wounded as Maj. Patrick Miller, an Iraq War veteran from Allegany County, in western New York.
Cuomo told The New York Times that Miller joined the Army after graduating in 2003. He was shot in the abdomen, according to relatives, and is in stable condition.
Miller was deployed to Iraq for the first time in March 2004 for a year. He was then a second lieutenant and the commander of a platoon of medics that included Army Spc. Jude Uchendu.
“He worked hard,” said Uchendu, who left the military in 2009. “He was always out there for his soldiers, and a good leader, too.”
Miller earned master’s degrees in business and public administration from Syracuse University in 2009, according to his Facebook page.
Friday, Sen. Ted Cruz said he had spoken to a soldier who was shot in the abdomen but still stepped forward to save another soldier, then called 911. He did not identify that soldier by name.
In New Orleans, Renee Powell Westbrook identified another of the wounded as her husband, Sgt. Jonathan Westbrook.
Ms. Westbrook told the AP that her husband’s injuries do not appear to be life threatening and that the Army would fly her to Texas.
“He’s assured me he’s OK, but until I get a visual and say ‘OK, you’re OK,’ he’s not OK,” she said. “They train them to downplay things.”
Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, commander of III Corps and Fort Hood, told reporters Friday that 10 of the soldiers who were wounded Wednesday had been released from the hospital and had returned to duty. Three remained at Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood and three more remained at Baylor Scott and White Hospital in Temple, Texas, Milley said.
“They’re all strong. Each of them is resilient, their families are resilient,” he said.