In a final heroic act, Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Ferguson threw his body against the entryway of a door as a fellow soldier-turned-gunman blasted away in a terrifying rampage at Fort Hood.
Ferguson, 39, was fatally hit in the moment he became a human shield — a sacrifice remembered in a news conference Saturday.
Ferguson's “courageous act of blocking the door with his own body prevented further bloodshed,” said Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas.
Also killed in Wednesday's shooting were Sgt. Timothy Owens, 37, and Staff Sgt. Carlos Lazaney-Rodriguez, 38. Sixteen others were wounded. Gunman Spc. Ivan Lopez died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, officials said.
Fort Hood Public Affairs Office via Reuters
Sergeant First Class Daniel Ferguson, 39, of Florida, who served as a transportation supervisor and had been deployed to Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan, is pictured in this undated handout from Fort Hood Public Affairs Office. Ferguson was one of three victims killed at the shooting at Fort Hood.
Rep. Williams, along with Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, met some of the wounded soldiers Saturday, and commended them on their valor. Among the survivors was Maj. Patrick Miller, who was shot in the stomach with Lopez's .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol.
Miller had called 911 as he tended to his own wounds.
“What we saw or heard from the victims was a tremendous amount of bravery in a severe situation,” Williams said. “They are ready to get back to their unit, get back to their friends and fellow soldiers.”
A proposed bill, the Honoring the Fort Hood Heroes Act, would provide assistance to Fort Hood Victims from the previous shooting in 2009 that killed 13 people and wounded more than 30.
“We are fighting daily for our bill to be signed into law to compensate the victims,” Williams said.
Army officials said a spontaneous argument among soldiers at Fort Hood set off the mass shooting. Lopez was apparently furious about trying to get a leave-of-absence application but was turned away, according to witnesses and relatives.
When asked whether mental health issues were at play, Carter said society is to blame for such mass shootings.
“When you get shot by your buddy in uniform, it’s a punch in the kidneys,” Carter said.
— Mel Bailey
First published April 5 2014, 2:02 PM