Living through Fort Hood shooting - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Local Army LTC shares memories of 2009 Fort Hood shooting following latest killings

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Lt. Colonel Steven Shepherd, who was at Fort Hood during the 2009 shootings, talked to ABC 33/40 about his experience and shared his thoughts on Wednesday's shootings that left four dead, including the gunman. (abc3340.com) Lt. Colonel Steven Shepherd, who was at Fort Hood during the 2009 shootings, talked to ABC 33/40 about his experience and shared his thoughts on Wednesday's shootings that left four dead, including the gunman. (abc3340.com)
BIRMINGHAM - AL -

As much of the nation reads or watches stories about the latest mass shooting on Fort Hood, one man is sharing his story of living through the last shooting in 2009.  LTC Steven Shepherd, of Birmingham, was getting prepared with his unit to be deploy to Afghanistan.  The 135th Sustainment Command was on the base November 5, when the active shooter scenario came to life.

LTC Shepherd said he was at the base pharmacy getting a prescription filled when he heard commotion.  The Army National Guardsman says he saw people running by the front door screaming, covered in blood.  He recounted how he went to investigate, reaching for a weapon at his side that wasn't there.  That's when Shepherd admitted he was out of his element.  He then gathered everyone he could inside a building and secured it.  He and others carried a stretcher up to the SRP site, but were waived away by other first responders who were trying to secure the area of the shooting.

There were four or five Alabama guardsmen at the SRP site at the time of the shooting, according to Shepherd.  The now-medically retired, LTC Randy Royer was shot.  He has undergone several surgeries to recover from his wounds.  

The thing LTC Shepherd says hit him the hardest was finding out the next day that a new friend was gone.  "One of the people that was killed in 2009 was the same guy that wrote my prescriptions that I was picking up that day.  We had sat and talked the day prior and made a close connection," remembered Shepherd.  That man's name was Michael Grant and Shepherd's father's name was Michael Grant Shepherd, so they bonded over that connection.  "He reminded me a lot of my dad. And the fact that I found out the next day that he was one of the ones that had been killed bothered me a bit."

The soldier shared his experience of how Fort Hood staff handled his experience five years ago.  He says they had post-event counseling.  After he returned from deployment, there were routine follow-ups and Shepherd still gets annual checks to see how he is doing.  He expects the same thing could happen in this shooting situation.

Shepherd's message to the men and women going through the similar situation is, "focus on the mission.  Focus on keeping your people safe and come back as soon as you can."

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