Heartbroken female soldier reveals how partner sacrificed himself to stop gunman reaching a room full of their comrades
Another victim killed in Wednesday’s horrific attack at Fort Hood has been identified and his fiancée described how the soldier died protecting others.
Sgt. First Class Danny Ferguson, a movement specialist from Tampa Bay, Florida, had just returned from Afghanistan when 34-year-old Ivan Lopez snapped and opened fire Wednesday afternoon.
Ferguson’s fiancée, Kristen Haley, who is also a soldier at the Texas base and was nearby when the shooting began, said Danny sacrificed his life blocking a door to keep the gunman out of a packed room of military personnel, where he could have killed scores more people.
‘He held that door shut because it wouldn’t lock. It seems the doors would be bullet proof, but apparently they’re not,’ Haley told News 10. ‘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 was remembered as a great soldier, and a prolific athlete at Mulberry High School where he graduated in 1993.
He joins Sgt. Timothy Owens as two of the three military men Lopez allegedly killed before turning the .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol on himself just after 4p.m.
Owens’ mother, Mary Muntean, 77, of Effingham, Illinois, spoke out about the moment she heard her son was dead, and revealed the news came just days after she had met for the first time a daughter she had given up for adoption 54 years prior.
‘She finds one child and loses another,’ said Betty Goodwin, Muntean’s niece and Owens’ cousin, said of the elderly woman.
Sitting on her recliner on Wednesday, Muntean saw news on television of the attack at Fort Hood.
Unable to reach her son, she called his new wife, Billie Owens, who first said he was in the hospital. Before long, Owens’ wife called back, and Muntean had her worst fears confirmed.
‘She said, “Mom, I want to tell you how sorry I am. Tim’s gone,”‘ Muntean said. ‘I broke down. I’m 77 years old and I can’t hardly take this.’
Muntean told the AP she has heart problems and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
She said she was still celebrating meeting her daughter when Owens was killed. Her 54-year-old daughter sought her out, she said, and the two met on March 23.
Goodwin said Muntean was told by Owens’ wife that he was shot in the chest.
Owens’ cousin, Glen Welton of Effingham, 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. ‘It took him a few years before he got himself in.’