Fort Hood Shooting Has Valley Soldiers Shaken Up

November 5, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Officials tell me they reviewed their safety measures but have not made any changes. Meanwhile, all across the Valley people are reacting to Thursday's shooting, many of them with ties to Fort Hood.Dozens of paintings line the walls at an art show in Clovis; all of them depict the honor and strength of American soldiers.

Gene Butler served in the United States Army and spent a summer training at Fort Hood. He's proud of his military past, but can't understand why someone would kill their fellow soldiers.

"How do you cope with that? Your son gets killed in America at an army base. It's bad enough to go to Iraq and get killed but in this case, it's a little bit worse, isn't it," said Butler.

That same feeling resonates with Jessica Hodges of Merced. She was stationed at Fort Hood from August 2004 to March of 2007.

"I just horrified. I couldn't believe that someplace you're supposed to be safe, something like this could happen," said Hodges.

Blake Brown is also worried. He's in the Army Ready Reserve and has several friends stationed at Fort Hood.

"I haven't talked to any of my buddies out there. I'm praying for them. I hope they're okay. I really hope it wasn't them who got hurt," said Brown.

Officials at the Air National Guard Base in East Central Fresno say they understand people's concerns. Just last month, they conducted a training operation, preparing soldiers for an on-base attack. And after Thursday's deadly shooting, they once again looked at their security measures to make sure there will be no more threats to soldier safety.

Lt. Col. John Cotter said, "Once we determined we'd already done everything we could do to counteract a threat like that, then we went back to business as normal. Of course when a tragedy like this strikes, our thoughts and prayers always go out to the soldiers and their families at Fort Hood."

Officials at the base have been in contact with other local law enforcement agencies. At this point, they say Thursday's shooting at Fort Hood was an isolated incident and that they will continue to make sure it stays that way.



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