Fort Hood tragedy touches campus

Fort Hood tragedy touches campus

Even as she was sitting outside Fort Hood Army Base waiting for the lockdown to end Thursday night, university alumna Stacey Uhorchak said that she and her husband had always felt safe living at the base.

“I love Fort Hood,” Uhorchak said. “We have always felt very safe and very taken care of. We feel very blessed to live on post.”

Uhorchak and her husband, Nicholas, a platoon officer, have lived at the base for nine months. She said in the past, there had been good safety precautions taken to keep residents safe at the base.

Uhorchak’s husband was working at the base at about 1:30 p.m. Thursday when a military mental health doctor went on a shooting rampage, killing at least 12 people and wounding at least 30 others. Uhorchak said she was substitute teaching and had not heard of the shooting until her husband called her to say he was safe.

During the lockdown that ensued into the evening, Nicholas was stuck on the base while Uhorchak was locked outside.

“It’s a little unbelievable, actually, to think that it’s really happening here and happening again and that this is not going away,” Uhorchak said.

The shooting is the fourth mass shooting in the United States in the past three years. Thirteen people were killed at a New York immigrant center in April, 10 were killed during a shooting spree across Alabama in March and 32 were killed at Virginia Tech in 2007.

Army ROTC cadet Tom Adams, a junior history major, attended school at the base from age six until he left to attend TCU. His father works on the west side of Fort Hood, which is not near the Soldier Readiness Center, where the shooting occurred.

Adams said that Major Joel Coleman announced the shooting during a ROTC leadership lab Thursday evening. Coleman did not say how the event would affect the ROTC program at the university, Adams said.

Major Coleman could not be reached for comment.

Duncan Gill, a line cook for Dining Services, planned on driving to Fort Hood on Thursday night to see his friend, who was in critical condition after sustaining a bullet wound to her stomach, he said. He said the next few days would be vital in terms of her recovery.

Gill said he planned to donate blood after hearing that Fort Hood-area hospitals were experiencing a shortage.

Uhorchak said the only information she had heard about the shooting Thursday night was from her husband, who was making sure his men were accounted for and safe. She had not heard any information released by the base itself.

Making sure everyone at the base was safe was a bigger priority getting out word to people who were locked outside, Uhorchak said.

The shooting suspect was identified as Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan by an anonymous law enforcement official. Hasan was initially believed to be dead after being shot by authorities, but the Army announced that he was alive Thursday night.

Two other soldiers who were taken into custody were later released, said Fort Hood spokesman Christopher Haug.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.