A police officer and mother of one was hailed a heroine yesterday after it emerged that she almost single handedly ended the massacre at America’s biggest military base.
Kimberly Munley does not look as if she would be much of a match for a heavily armed US soldier on a murderous rampage. But the slightly built 34-year-old civilian officer was first on the scene after Major Nidal Malik Hasan began firing on comrades at Ford Hood in Texas as they prepared to deploy to Afghanistan and Iraq. The 39-year-old psychologist killed 13 and left 31 others with serious injuries.
On Thursday afternoon Ms Munley was doing her usual job of directing traffic on the sprawling base. By chance, she and her partner happened to walk past the Soldiers’ Readiness Processing Centre soon after Major Hasan — armed with two handguns — cornered his fellow soldiers. Soldiers who witnessed the rampage described the gunfire as continuous, methodical and well aimed.
Ms Munley succeeded in bringing him down by shooting him four times, even after being hit by a bullet that passed through both her legs, according to witnesses.
Her swift reaction and courage were being praised last night for preventing many more deaths.
“It was an amazing and aggressive performance by this police officer,” said Lieutenant-General Robert Cone, Fort Hood’s commanding officer. “The critical factor here was her quick response to the situation.”
President Obama led the nation’s mourning yesterday and will visit Fort Hood for a memorial service in the coming days. He ordered all flags at the White House and other federal buildings to be flown at half mast until Veterans Day on November 11. But he urged Americans against “jumping to conclusions” about the killer’s motives.
Major Hasan, a Muslim and an expert in combat stress, survived the shooting and is now being treated in a nearby hospital, under armed guard.
It emerged yesterday that he was opposed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and had tried to buy his way out of the army rather than being deployed overseas. The request was turned down.
He had shouted the Arabic phrase Allahu akbar (God is greatest) before opening fire, witnesses said.
Ms Munley, the mother of a three-year-old girl, is in a stable condition, with injuries to the upper leg and thigh. General Cone said her fearless response to the gunman had saved countless lives. Trained in active-response tactics, she rushed into the building where he was shooting, and confronted him directly. Officials confirmed that she had continued firing even after being hit.
Those who treated the police officer said that her first request after being taken to hospital was to call her colleagues and friends to let them know she was OK — and to find out about casualty numbers.
Her stepmother, Wanda Barbour, said Ms Munley was an oustanding police officer. “She’s concerned about all the people who’ve lost their lives,” she said. “We’re just real proud of her and so grateful and thankful to the Lord that she’s going to be okay.”
General Cone said that Ms Munley’s actions demonstated that an aggressive response to a mass-shooting can save lives. “She walked up and engaged him,” he said.
THE SAD POSSIBLE IRONY....
Interesting! I remember an american soldier (female) that the press called a "hero". Her name was. Remember her?
Turned out that she never fired her weapon.
Now we have this outstanding (female) hero in texas. Yes, she did fire her weapon. It appears that she even hit her target, before being hit herself.
But she did NOT bring him down. Another civilian named fired on the terrorist after she was hit and went down. He put the terrorist down AFTER she was shot. He took the weapon away from the terrorist and handcuffed him.
Another "Jessica Lynch" story. Why is credit not given to Mark Todd.