Since I donít know when Iíll sleep (itís 4 am now) Iíll
write what happened (the abbreviated version.....the long
one is already part of the investigation with more to come).
Iíll not write about any part of the investigation that Iíve
learned about since (as a witness I know more than I should
since inevitably my JAG brothers and sisters are deeply involved
in the investigation).
Donít assume that most of the
current media accounts are very accurate. Theyíre not.
Theyíll improve with time. Only those of us who were there
really know what went down. But as they collate our
statements theyíll get it right.
I did my Soldier
Readiness Processing (SRP) last week, but youíre supposed to
come back a week later to have them look at the smallpox
vaccination site (itís this big itchy growth on your shoulder).
I am probably alive because I pulled a óóóóó and entered the
wrong building first (the main SRP building). The Medical
SRP building is off to the side. Realizing my mistake I left the
main building and walked down the sidewalk to the medical SRP
As Iím walking up to it the gunshots start.
Slow and methodical. But continuous. Two ambulatory
wounded came out. Then two soldiers dragging a third who
was covered in blood.
Hearing the shots but not seeing the shooter, along with a
couple other soldiers I stood in the street and yelled at
everyone who came running that it was clear but to "RUN!"
I kept motioning people fast. About 6-10 minutes later
(the shooting continuous), two cops ran up -- one male, one
female. We pointed in the direction of the shots.
They headed that way (the medical SRP building was about 50
meters away). Then a lot more gunfire.
minutes later a balding man in
came around the building carrying a pistol and holding it
tactically. He started shooting at us and we all dived
back to the cars behind us. I donít think he hit the
couple of other guys who were there. I did see the bullet
holes later in the cars.
First I went behind a tire and
then looked under the body of the car. Iíve been trained
how to respond to gunfire... but with my own weapon. To
have no weapon I donít know how to explain what that felt like.
I hadnít run away and stayed because I had thought about the
consequences or anything like that. I wasnít thinking
Please understand, there was no
intention. I was just staying there because I didnít think
about running. It never occurred to me that he might shoot
me. Until he started shooting in my direction and I
realized I was unarmed.
Then the female cop comes around
the corner. He shoots her (according to the news accounts
she got a round into him. I believe it, I just didnít see
it. He didnít go down.) She goes down.
starts reloading. Heís
fiddling with his magazines. Weirdly he hasnít dropped
the one that was in his weapon. Heís holding the fresh one
and the old one (you do that on the range when time is not of
the essence but in combat you would just let the old mag go).
I see the male cop around the left corner of the building.
(Iím about 15-20 meters from the shooter.) I yell at the
cop, "Heís reloading, heís reloading. Shoot him!
You have to understand, everything was quiet
at this point. The cop appears to hear me and comes around
the corner and shoots the shooter. He goes down. The
cop kicks his weapon further away. I sprint up to the
downed female cop.
Another captain (I think he was with
me behind the cars) comes up as well. Sheís bleeding
profusely out of her thigh. We take our belts off and
tourniquet her just like weíve been trained (I hope we did it
right...we didnít have any CLS (combat lifesaver) bags with
their awesome tourniquets on us, so we worked with what we had).
Meanwhile, in the most bizarre moment of the day, a
photographer was standing over us taking pictures. I
suppose Iíll be seeing those tomorrow.
Then a soldier
came up and identified himself as a medic. I then realized
her weapon was lying there unsecured (and on "fire"). I
stood over it and when I saw a cop yelled for him to come over
and secure her weapon (I would have done so but I was worried
someone would mistake me for a bad guy).
I then went over
to the shooter. He was unconscious. A Lt Colonel was
there and had secured his primary weapon for the time being.
He also had a revolver. I couldnít believe he was one of
ours. I didnít want to believe it. Then I saw his
name and rank and realized this wasnít just some specialist with
At this point there was a guy there from
CID and I asked him if he knew he was the shooter and had him
secured. He said he did. I then went over the
slaughter house, the medical SRP building.
should ever have to see what that looked like, and I wonít tell
you. Just believe me. Please. There was
nothing to be done there.
Someone then said there was
someone critically wounded around the corner. I ran around
(while seeing this floor to ceiling window that someone had
jumped through movie style) and saw a large African-American
soldier lying on his back with two or three soldiers attending.
I ran up and identified two entrance wounds on the right
side of his stomach, one exit wound on the left side and one
head wound. He was not bleeding externally from the
stomach wounds (though almost certainly internally) but was
bleeding from the head wound.
A soldier was using a shirt
to try and stop the head bleeding. He was conscious so I
began talking to him to keep him so. He was 42, from North
Carolina, he was named something Jr., his son was named
something III and he had a daughter as well. His children
lived with him. He was divorced. I told him the
blubber on his stomach saved his life. He smiled. A
young soldier in civvies showed up and identified himself as a
We debated whether to put him on the back
of a pickup truck. A doctor (well, an audiologist) showed
up and said you canít move him, he has a head wound. We
finally sat tight. I went back to the slaughterhouse.
They werenít letting anyone in there -- not even medics.
Finally, after about 45 minutes had elapsed some cops showed up
in tactical vests.
Someone said the TBI building was
unsecured. They headed into there. All of a sudden a
couple more shots were fired. People shouted there was a
second shooter. A half hour later the SWAT showed up.
There was no second shooter. That had been an impetuous
cop apparently, but that confused things for a while.
Meanwhile I went back to the shooter.
The female cop had
been taken away. A medic was pumping plasma into the
shooter. Iím not proud of this but I went up to her and
said, "this is the shooter, is there anyone else who needs
attention...do them first." She indicated everyone else
living was attended to.
I still hadnít seen any EMTs or
ambulances. I had so much blood on me that people kept
asking me if I was ok, but that was all other peopleís blood.
Eventually (an hour and a half to two hours after the
shootings), they started landing choppers. They took out
the big African American guy and the shooter. I guess the
ambulatory wounded were all at the SRP building. Everyone
else in my area was dead.
I suppose the emergency
responders were told there were multiple shooters. I heard
that was the delay with the choppers (they were all civilian
helicopters). They needed a secure LZ, but other than the
initial cops who did everything right, I didn't see a lot of
them for a while.
I did see many a soldier rush out to
help their fellows/sisters. There was one female soldier,
I don't know her name or rank but I would recognize her anywhere
who was everywhere helping people. A couple of people,
mainly civilians, were hysterical, but only a couple. One
civilian freaked out when I tried to comfort her when she saw my
uniform. I guess she had seen the shooter up close.
A lot of soldiers were rushing out to help even when we
thought there was another gunman out there. This Army is
not broken no matter what the pundits say -- not the Army I saw.
And then they kept me for a long time to come. Oh, and
perhaps the most surreal thing, at 1500 (the end of the workday
on Thursdays), when the bugle sounded we all came to attention
and saluted the flag in the middle of it all.
what I saw. It canít have been real, but this is my small
corner of what happened.