National News

'She probably saved a lot of lives'

Posted November 6, 2009 8:36 a.m. EST
Updated November 6, 2009 11:40 p.m. EST

— The civilian police officer who ended a shooting rampage at Fort Hood on Thursday by shooting the suspected gunman is a North Carolina native.

Fort Hood police Sgt. Kimberly Munley is the daughter of former Carolina Beach Mayor Dennis Barbour and a 1993 graduate of John T. Hoggard High School in Wilmington.

Barbour and his wife, Wanda, who own a hardware store in the coastal town, were heading to Texas Friday and couldn't be reached for comment.

Hoggard High Principal Dave Spencer said he remembers Munley as a well-rounded student who was involved in athletics and service clubs while at the school.

Army Lt. Gen. Bob Cone said Friday that Munley and her partner responded within three minutes of reported gunfire on Fort Hood Thursday afternoon. Cone said Munley shot the gunman four times despite being shot herself.

Munley's boss, Chuck Medley, told The Associated Press on Friday that the gunman spun around as Munley began shooting and charged at her with a gun in each hand.

Munley shot the gunman in the upper torso, allowing officers to take him into custody, Medley said. In the exchange of gunfire, Munley was shot in the thighs and wrist, he said.

Officials said Munley was in stable condition Friday. The suspected gunman, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, is hospitalized on a ventilator.

"It was an amazing and an aggressive performance by this police officer," Cone said.

"She probably saved a lot of lives," Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey Jr. said.

"What she did, I am sure she didn't hesitate to do what she had to do," said Sgt. Andrew Hagerman, a military policeman at Fort Hood.

Munley, 35, is married to another soldier, and they have a 2-year-old daughter. She also has a teenage daughter from a previous relationship.

"Kim has always been a firecracker," said Leanne McLaughlin, Munley's childhood friend who now lives in Boiling Springs. "She's the kind of person where you want to say, 'Be careful,' but at the same time, you just know she's going to jump in with both feet."

McLaughlin nicknamed the 5-foot-3 Munley "Mighty Mouse." She said Munley was always fearless and wanted to be in law enforcement.

"I would say she's definitely someone that would go out and help others before she thought of herself," McLaughlin said, adding that she thinks her friend "did what came natural to her" in ending the carnage at Fort Hood.

Munley got her start in law enforcement as a Wrightsville Beach police officer in 2000. Wrightsville Beach Police Department Chief John Carey said she was fearless.

“She would get involved with things with other officers and not hesitate. She was pretty small in stature, but she was big in heart,” Carey said.

Shaun Appler, an investigator with the Wrightsville Beach Police, agrees that Munley did what she was trained to do.

"She had the proper mindset. She went in there and handled business," said Appler, who was Munley's partner a decade ago when she began her law enforcement career.

"Courage is what you do in spite of fear, so she is very courageous. She would not hesitate to get into the middle of a situation, no matter what the odds were," he said.

The gunfire broke out around 1:30 p.m. Thursday at Fort Hood's Soldier Readiness Center, where soldiers who are about to be deployed or who are returning undergo medical screening. Nearby, some soldiers were readying to head into a graduation ceremony for troops and family members who had recently earned degrees.

Twelve soldiers and one civilian were killed in the shooting spree, and 28 others were wounded. The motive for the shooting wasn't clear, but Hasan was apparently set to deploy soon, and had expressed some anger about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

One of the wounded soldiers also has ties to North Carolina.

Alonzo Macdonald Lunsford Jr. is a Rockingham native, who has been stationed at Fort Hood for less than a year, said his mother, Johnsie Lunsford. She is the town clerk in Rockingham.

Johnsie Lunsford said her son was shot four times, and she was heading to Texas to be with him.

There were 11 Fort Bragg soldiers and five members of the Morrisville-based 130th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion of the North Carolina National Guard at Fort Hood at the time of the attack. None was injured in the shooting spree.

Appler said he spoke with Munley on the phone Friday, and she told him she would be fine.

"Kim Munley is a fine example of law enforcement officers in America, and America should be proud of law enforcement like her," he said.

Kim Munley's husband, Staff Sgt. Matthew Munley, was in Pennsylvania visiting family when the shootings happened, her brother-in-law Bryan Munley told CNN.

Bryan Munley said Matthew Munley had recently been transferred to Fort Bragg. Kim Munley was trying to find a job in North Carolina and was hoping to move there soon.