Tears and Tributes Flow for Fort Hood Victims, Heroes

Friend of Sgt. Kimberly Munley gets tattooed in honor of hero friend.

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

Nov. 9, 2009— -- The day after last week's shooting rampage at Fort Hood in Texas, a friend and co-worker of civilian police officer Sgt. Kimberly Munley hit the tattoo parlor.

Sarah Clark's forearm now bears the ink "Protect and Serve" -- a tattoo matching that of her friend, who has been hailed as a hero for taking down the suspect, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, during the Thursday attack, despite having been shot herself.

"I had this done Friday, the day after she was injured," Clark told "Good Morning America."

"[Munley] had a big grin, gave me a big hug and said, 'Thank you.'"

The suspect killed 13 people and wounded more than three dozen. Sixteen people are still in the hospital this morning, seven of them in intensive care.

"It was hard, until I saw her come through the ICU room door," Clark, who was there when Munley woke up, said. "That's when I guess I felt the relief come across."

Friends say Munley, 34, who was shot twice in the legs and once in the wrist, is now in high spirits and eager to get back on the job.

"If she could go out tomorrow she would be back out there working the road, doing what she normally does," Clark said.

Added fellow co-worker Mark Carlino, "To us, she looks great. She looks like the normal Kim that we know."

Munley's doctors have said they initially feared she wouldn't survive the attack.

"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.

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

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

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.

Investigators are still trying to piece together a motive for the shootings, which seemed to have been precipitated by the suspect's stress over treating combat soldiers, along with his growing discomfort with the war and its conflict with his religious beliefs.

Hasan, who was reportedly paralyzed in the attack, was transferred to a military hospital in San Antonio Friday.

"When it happens at your home, it's a whole different thing," Chief Warrant Officer Ed Kime of the 15th Military Intelligence Battalion, said. "You are supposed to be safe within the gates."

The day after the shooting, Kime was among the officers who helped prepare the bodies of the victims for transfer to the Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

"I'd be lying if I said I didn't lose it a couple of times," he said, choking up. "I tried to spend five or six seconds with each one, say a small prayer and help them on their way. But, yeah, it was pretty bad."

A memorial service is planned for Tuesday at Fort Hood. President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are expected to attend.

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 toward 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."

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.

ABC News' Mark Mooney contributed to this report.

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