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Fort Hood Rampage Brings Back Haunting Memories For 2009 Shooting Victim
U.S. Rep. John Carter, from Texas, with retired Staff Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford earlier this year. He attended the State of the Union address.

A victim of the 2009 Fort Hood massacre says he knows the pain that friends and family are going through in Killeen this week. KERA talked with retired Staff Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford, who was shot seven times by co-worker Major Nidal Malik Hasan.

Sgt. Lunsford says the moment he heard about Wednesday’s shooting, he physically sank, and thought about Fort Hood on lockdown, scared people -- suspended in time.

“And that eats at you, and then I think about what I went through. How I felt,” he told KERA from North Carolina. “It aggravates triggers. Meaning, you relive that day.”

The smells, he says, and the sounds of that day immediately come back.

“I haven’t been to sleep yet. Because it’s like I’m reliving [the day] all over again.”

Lunsford took a bullet to his head, and six in his body. And he still has one in his back.

“I still have difficulty walking sometimes, I have mobility issues. I have PTSD, but I don’t cry over what was taken from me. I celebrate what I still have.” 

PTSD, or post-traumatic stress syndrome is real, he says.   

“People fail to understand that when you come back from war, the atrocities that you see, real time, or aftermath, have a severe affect over you,” he said. “You can’t slip it on, and slip it off.”

To the families coping with this tragedy in Fort Hood, he says:  “Don’t let your anger eat at you. Because anger is not the answer right now. What that loved one needs to do is to be supportive, of their loved one that is in need.”

Lunsford says he and other survivors of the 2009 shootings hope to help the families in Killeen heal this time.

(Photo Credit: U.S. Rep. John Carter/Flickr)

Doualy Xaykaothao is a newscaster and reporter for NPR, based in Culver City. She returned to NPR for this role in 2018, and is responsible for writing, producing, and delivering national newscasts. She also reports on breaking news stories for NPR.