Local News

Fort Bragg reacts to Army base shooting

Posted November 5, 2009 10:26 p.m. EST
Updated November 6, 2009 11:41 a.m. EST

— As reports began to filter of Thursday's deadly shooting at Fort Hood Army post in Texas, retired Gen. Robert Springer said he thought back to 1995 and a similar attack that happened at Fort Bragg.

“(It was) another example of someone that went, we use the term, ‘Off his rocker,’ at the moment and attacked his own troops,” Springer said.

On Oct. 27, 1995, authorities said Sgt. William J. Kreutzer Jr. opened fire on members of the 82nd Airborne Division's 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment during their morning exercise at Towle Stadium on post. Maj. Stephen Badger, an intelligence officer in the 82nd Airborne Division’s 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, was killed in the rampage, and 18 other soldiers were wounded.

Kreutzer was sentenced to life in prison in March.

Eleven Fort Bragg Soldiers were participating in a training exercise at Fort Hood at the time of the incident, and all have been accounted for and are safe.

Likewise, five members of the North Carolina National Guard's 130th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, which is stationed in Morrisville, were uninjured in the shootings. They were at Fort Hood for final processing before deployment to Iraq, officials said.

In reaction to Thursday’s shooting, Fort Bragg increased random security checks at all of its gates and housing areas.

“We do not believe there is a threat to Fort Bragg, as it appears to have been an isolated incident. Nevertheless, we intend to take prudent measures to increase vigilance to best assure the safety and welfare of our community,” said Col. Billy J. Buckner, spokesman for Fort Bragg.

Increased checks at gates to the Army post slowed traffic a bit Friday, and more random patrols were conducted in housing areas, Womack Army Medical Center and locations where soldiers shop.

"It comes as a shock to us because now we have an incident where a soldier turned against other soldiers. and that's just not something you fully expect," Fort Bragg spokesman Tom McCollum said. "It has caused us to look at what if, what if it happened here at Fort Bragg, and what measures would we take to protect our citizens and our soldiers and the families that call Fort Bragg home."

Fort Bragg soldiers always secure their weapons for training aren't allowed to take them home. Soldiers can have personal weapons, but they must be registered. officials said.

Col. Ed Crandell, chief of the Department of Behavioral Health at Womack Army Medical Center, said the Army has many programs to help soldiers with the stress of the job.

“If you think you have a problem, you probably need to talk to somebody to find out if you really do,” Crandell said. “Deployments change individuals. The nature of being in a combat environment is inherently stressful."

Crandell said about 20 percent of soldiers report acute combat stress. They can join group and individual counseling to deal with those issues.