Saturday, November 07, 2009

'An aggressive response to a mass-shooting can save lives'

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.


Ore: Hunter shot in self-defense: "No murder charges will be filed against the Scappoose family involved in a fight with Portland hunter Frank Means the day he died, a grand jury concluded. Rather, Means was shot to death in self defense by the son of another hunter who Means was holding a gun to. A Wheeler County grand jury concluded Thursday that Means died after he shoved a 9-millimeter handgun into the stomach of 63-year-old Gary Havlik, in front of Havlik’s two grown sons and grandson. Fearing his father would get shot by Means, who was drunk, Daron Havlik shot Means, District Attorney Daniel Ousley said. “Witness accounts described Mr. Means as upset, angry and apparently very intoxicated as he continued to refuse their pleas and pointed his handgun into Gary Havlik's stomach and chest area,” the district attorney said. The 61-year-old Means was shot to death on Oct. 7 near the John Day River."

Florida home invader shot: "A home invasion ended with one of the suspects dead and several others injured early Saturday morning. Seminole County deputies said two men returned to a home on Fernbrook Way, when witnesses said the two were confronted by armed suspects who forced their way inside and opened fire. That, deputies said, was when one of the victims grabbed a gun and started shooting back. When deputies arrived, they found Maurice Thomas collapsed in the street. He was rushed to Orlando Regional Medical Center, but he did not survive. Three other people were shot, but officials said they were expected to be OK. A second suspect was found in a nearby wooded area, and faces charges. Officials said, Mack Brooks, one of the victims found in the home, was also shot during a previous home invasion in Orange County."

TX: TCC students file lawsuit over protest restrictions: "Two community college students who favor carrying concealed weapons are challenging their school’s restrictions on campus protests. Clayton Smith and John Schwertz Jr. announced Thursday that they have filed a federal lawsuit in Dallas against the Tarrant County College District. They contend the college system restricts their First Amendment rights by controlling the time, place and manner of protests. The students plan to participate in a nationwide demonstration next week known as ‘empty holster protests,’ calling attention to policies forbidding concealed weapons on campus. School officials limited the protest to a designated area and prohibited students from wearing empty holsters.”

No comments: