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Fri April 4, 2014

The Lives And Loves Left Behind By Fort Hood Victims

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 6:18 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. The family of the Fort Hood shooter released a statement today saying Ivan Lopez must not have been in his right mind. The statement asks for prayers for those affected by Wednesday's shooting. This afternoon, Fort Hood Commander Mark Milley identified the three people who were killed. Their families have been speaking out as they mourn their loved ones. NPR's Jennifer Ludden reports.

JENNIFER LUDDEN, BYLINE: All three victims had tours in either Iraq or Afghanistan. They all worked in transportation or logistics for the Army. Two had received badges for seeing combat action, which is adding to the disbelief that family and friends feel about this week's tragedy. Paul Atherton(ph) is a former roommate of one of those killed, Sergeant Timothy Owens. He tells KTVI that Owens had just signed up for another six years of service.

PAUL ATHERTON: You worry about it when he's overseas and is in war. You don't think about it actually happening here stateside.

LUDDEN: Owens was 37, recently remarried, the father of two teenagers. His mother tells reports in Effingham, Illinois, that she had just spoken with her son Sunday night. Her new daughter-in-law broke the news of his death to her, saying she was told Owens was shot in the chest while trying to calm down the gunman.

A friend, Jeff Myers(ph), tells KTVI that Owens would help anyone who needed it including him the last time they saw each other.

JEFF MYERS: And we just kind of caught up, idle chitchat, and he turned around and handed me $20. And I was like what's that for. He says sometimes people just need it, and I got it.

LUDDEN: Also killed, 39-year-old Sergeant First Class Danny Ferguson. He was a native of Mulberry, Florida, where teachers remember that he was a five-sport letterman in high school. He'd returned a year ago from Afghanistan. Ferguson's fiancee is in the military, as well. Kristin Haley(ph) says he loved being a soldier. Haley tells Tampa Bay's WTSP that she was with him when he was shot. She says Ferguson was killed while trying to keep the gunman out of a room full of people.

KRISTIN HALEY: He held that door shut because there's no locks. Those doors are like - seems like they would be bulletproof, but apparently not, and if he was not being the one against that door holding it, that shooter would have been able to get through and shoot everyone else.

LUDDEN: The third victim identified today, 38-year-old Supply Sergeant Carlos Lazaney. In his hometown of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, friends and family expressed grief, telling Univision he was a good, capable man.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Speaking foreign language)

LUDDEN: The local mayor, Carlos Mendez, says community leaders are pulling together to help the family, though he doesn't know if Lazaney will be buried there or in Tampa, Florida, where his father lives. The mayor tells NBC News that Lazaney joined the military when he was 18 and had planned to retire at the end of the year. Jennifer Ludden, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.