A United Church of Christ chaplain stationed at Fort Hood Army base in Texas was at work well into the night, bravely doing her best to comfort and assist as she ministered to fellow soldiers following a deadly shooting that left three dead and 16 others injured.
Fort Hood remained on lock down late Wednesday, April 2, after a gunman opened fire inside a building on the base. The shooter, Army Spc. Ivan Lopez, got into a vehicle, fired more shots, then went to another building and resumed shooting before military police responded. There are about 40,000 soldiers stationed on the base.
"Her unit was one that was targeted and suffered injuries. Two of the officers in her command were seriously wounded," said the Rev. Stephen Boyd, UCC minister for chaplains and specialized ministers.
"She spent most of the night ministering to soldiers at an evacuation site while the base was on lockdown," Boyd said. "There are a lot of concerned and disturbed soldiers, and she did her best in fulfilling her responsibility as a chaplain, which is to provide pastoral care to people regardless of their faith."
Army leaders said on Thursday that the gunman, who took his own life, was reportedly being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder, but his record was clean and he showed no sign that he would cause harm to himself or others. The shooter was deployed in Iraq as a truck driver and did not see any combat. Military leaders do not believe the gunman had ties to any extremist groups, but aren't ruling out any possibilities.
Those injured by gunfire are being treated at a nearby hospital, and doctors expect those who are seriously wounded will survive. Boyd asked that leaders, ministers and members of the UCC keep chaplains and military personnel in their prayers.
"It's easy to forget about chaplains, and our military service members, in a lot of different places," Boyd said. "Their lives are in harm's way daily, so we need to lift them up in our thoughts."