Survivor of Fort Hood attack fights memories of deadly day
Posted November 4, 2014
Fayetteville, N.C. — At Alpha Academy in Fayetteville, physical education teacher Alonzo Lunsford is known as Coach Al. But five years ago, he was a staff sergeant in the Army who survived the deadly attack at Fort Hood, Texas.
Lunsford was shot seven times when gunman Nidal Hasan opened fire at the post, killing 13 and wounding 32 others.
“I think about some of the powers to be and their reaction calling it workplace violence when it was a terrorist act,” he said recently.
Hasan, an Army major at the time, was sentenced to death last year in what was the worst mass murder at a military installation in U.S. history.
"I think about how throughout the whole process of the trial, how Maj. Hasan was treated as if he was a victim and as if we didn't matter,” Lunsford said.
Lunsford went back to Fort Hood last year to the exact spot where he was shot.
"It was a calm stillness that was in the air,” he recalled. “And, just for a minute, I could still smell the gunpowder. It's like I still hear the screams."
Lunsford said fellow soldiers thought he was dead until he moved his hand. He was loaded onto a helicopter next to the man who had just shot him. Hasan's deadly rampage ended when he was wounded.
It's a memory that still haunts Lunsford.
"A lot of times when the nightmares come, it's almost like I’m reliving that day all over again,” Lunsford said. “There's no amount of medication you can take to take that pain away.”
The retired soldier finds joy in working with the young people at his school. He uses the experience to encourage them to get the most out of their lives because his has been forever changed.
“I'm going to deal with this for the rest of my life,” he said. “Does it make me angry? Yes."