Hero 'Civilian Cops' Emerge After Fort Hood Shooting

Sgt. Kimberly Munley lost so much blood doctors feared she wouldn't make it.

BySARAH NETTER via via logo
November 07, 2009, 8:45 AM

Nov. 7, 2009— -- After Sgt. Kimberly Munley helped stop the Fort Hood massacre by shooting Major Nidal Malik Hasan several times, she collapsed from her wounds and doctors who treated her were afraid she wouldn't survive.

"She was fading in and out of consciousness. She wasn't saying much," medic Francisco de la Serna, who began treating Munley when the shooting stopped, told ABC News.

Munley, a 34-year-old former soldier who became a civilian cop on the Fort Hood base, was shot twice in both legs during Thursday's confrontation. Two powerful "cop killer" rounds allegedly fired by Hasan tore through her left thigh, exited and blasted through her right thigh as well. She was also struck in the wrist.

Sgt. Mark Todd, 42, a retired soldier who also works as a civilian police officer at Ford Hood, also engaged in a firefight with Hasan that lasted less than a minute, according to The Associated Press. Todd was not wounded.

Army officials say that an investigation is under way about whose bullets brought down Hasan as there was much confusion following the shooting. Munley's supervisor initially credited her with the shot that stopped Hasan.

Todd told The Associated Press Saturday that he was unsure if Munley had wounded the suspect, because "once he started firing at me, I lost track of her."

After firing his Beretta at Hasan, Todd said the suspect flinched, slid down against a telephone pole and fell on his back. Todd recalls hearing people say, "two more, two more." He first thought they were referring to more shooters, but he realized that the bystanders were urging him to fire two more rounds, Todd said.

Todd said he approached the suspect and saw that he still had a gun in his hand, which he kicked away. Todd told the AP, "He was breathing, his eyes were blinking. You could tell that he was fading out. He didn't say anything. He was just kind of blinking."

Munley, the mother of two girls, was sped to Metroplex Hospital several miles away where doctors say she lost so much blood that they feared she would not make it.

Munley proved to be as tough in the operating room as she was while confronting Hasan in their close-range shootout.

Dr. Kelly Matlock, who treated Munley at the Metroplex Hospital, said her first words in recovery were concern about Hasan's victims.

"She opened her eyes and said, 'Did anybody die?' That's what she said, 'Did anybody die?'" Matlock said.

Munley now knows that the man she shot is alive, and that he is accused of killing 13 unarmed people and wounding 38.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry visited Munley in the hospital today and later described her as "understated."

"She is a classic public servant who is not interested in anything other than getting on with her life," Perry said.

Chuck Medley, the director of emergency services at Fort Hood, said many more would have died if Munley had not leaped into action.

"If she had not responded the way she had, we would have had an extremely high number of dead and injured," Medley told ABC News Friday. "The number of lives that this person saved ... We will probably never know. But there is a lot of ammunition left, a lot of magazines," he said referring to what Hasan was allegedly carrying.

Sgt. Kimberly Munley's Shootout With Major Nidal Malik Hasan

Medley described a scenario worthy of a Hollywood script. He said Munley, who is a member of the base's SWAT team and a weapons expert, ran towards the gunfire and came upon Hasan when she rounded a corner and saw him pursuing a soldier who had already been wounded once.

"She fired on him twice and drew the attention toward her. He immediately spun around and charged her," Medley said. "She fired a couple more rounds and fell back, continuing to fire."

Despite getting struck three times by Hasan's fusillade, Munley stayed upright and kept firing at the charging gunman.

"She struck him a couple times in the upper torso and he went down," Medley said.

"When she rounded that corner she made a split-second decision to put her life at risk," he said.

Lt. Gen. Robert Cone said Munley's aggressive tactics averted even more carnage.

"She had been trained in active response," Cone said. "They had rehearsed scenarios like this. Oftentimes, the idea is you would encircle the building and wait until you have more backup. What the belief is, if you act aggressively, to take the shooter out, you'll have less fatalities."

Munley acted aggressively, not waiting for backup. She went after the gunman and quickly found him. As Cone put it, Munley decided "to seek him out, to confront hm."

Medley said he visited with Munley early Friday. "She's doing very well. She was in good spirits. She was smiling and laughing," he said.

Her boss said he told Munley, "The action you took saved countless peoples' lives. People are healthy, alive and walking around today because of the action that this officer took. She's a hero."

Munley's grandmother, Monirie Metz, told ABC News that the former South Carolina surfer girl would probably object to being called a hero.

"Kim doesn't want be called a hero. She's worried about everyone else right now and is very concerned about her colleagues with whom she is very close," Metz said.

Her husband, Matthew Munley, is a soldier at Fort Bragg, N.C., and was flown to Fort Hood. She also has two daughters, ages 15 and 2, from a previous marriage.

Facebook Tributes to Fort Hood Hero

In the hours after the shootings, two Facebook groups sprung up dedicated to Munley and her heroic actions.

"At that tragic moment you were able to use your training and abilities to bring an end to a day that will haunt the lives of many for years to come," one member posted in the group "God Bless SGT Kimberly Munley." "Thank you for being a true hero."

And in the group "Sgt. Kimberly Munley: A Real American Hero!," one woman stationed in Japan with her military husband said that Munley had inspired her to learn how to shoot once she returned to the U.S.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events