Dalhart family receives news that son is okay
By Robin Scott
The shootings that occurred at Fort Hood Army Base on Thursday, November 5th have shocked and outraged everyone, especially those whose lives the incident touched directly. Every U.S. Army soldier that is deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan or returns from deployment goes through Fort Hood and the base is the largest Army installation in the United States. The building was crowded at the time of the shootings, leading to the death or injury of 43 people.
At approximately 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, 39-year-old Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan entered the readiness center at Fort Hood and open-fired on fellow service members, killing 13 people and wounding 30 others. Hasan was wounded during the shooting spree and taken into custody by M.P.’s. Hasan is a medical doctor and psychiatrist for the Army. He counsels Army personnel, including counseling about posttraumatic stress disorder and the effects of war.
The news of the massacre spread quickly, and families scurried to learn the status of their soldier family members. In Dalhart, Brian and Ilene Walton, parents of Specialist Peter Walton, received a call from their son stating that he was okay. Spec. Walton had been in the building where the shootings occurred, according to Brian Walton, and was quickly evacuated to a safe location. Hours passed before the Walton’s received more information about their son’s well being.
Recently, Peter Walton married his wife, Rebecca, on the front porch of the Walton home in Dalhart. Rebecca recently left the Army due to injuries sustained while she was deployed to Iraq. Ilene Walton noted on Thursday, “Peter is just five days away from getting out of the Army.” The Walton’s also commented that they have fully embraced their son’s wife, Rebecca, and her four-year-old son. Ilene stated, “We got Rebecca and a grandchild all at once, and it’s wonderful!” Peter and Rebecca have plans to move to Colorado where Rebecca is from once Peter is discharged from the Army.
Ilene also stated, “The Army is very good about making sure that service members start contacting family immediately, so that they don’t find out on TV that something has happened. So, Peter did get to call, but now we are just waiting to hear that he has been able to leave the base.” After the incident the base was placed on high alert and locked down. The schools were also placed on lock down. No one was able to enter or leave the installation for hours. Peter and Rebecca live off base, and she was not at Fort Hood when the incident occurred.
The incident is considered one of the worse mass shootings ever at a military installation within the United States. The fact that the shooter is a member of the military and shot and killed his comrades and wounded several others adds to the atrocity.