Madison, Ind., soldier lauded for bravery, instinct in Ft. Hood shootings
MADISON, Ind. (WDRB) -- A soldier from Madison, Indiana stood five feet away as the Fort Hood shooter fired on his sergeant last week. He immediately gave CPR to the victim, who later died, according to his family.
The actions of Private Second Class Jacob Sanders, 21, may bring a commendation from President Obama at a memorial ceremony in Texas on Wednesday, his family says.
In Madison on Tuesday afternoon, a proud father and siblings looked through family photos on a laptop as a reporter asked questions.
They admired someone they call a hero.
Their son and brother, Private Second Class Jacob Sanders, is stationed at Fort Hood. He works weekdays in a transportation unit.
Last Wednesday, April 2, his stepmother Suzy Sanders and father Greg Sanders learned of the shootings on post and each sent texts asking if he was okay.
The answer was a shock -- and a scare.
"Two minutes later, at 6:24 p.m., he responded that 'I'm okay, Suz. I watched my sergeant die. I love you. I'm okay,'" said Greg Sanders.
Greg Sanders said his son stood five feet from the shooter, Specialist Ivan Lopez, in a transportation building.
Here's how Jacob described what happened in later texts and phone calls.
"Jacob's sergeant, Sergeant Owens, or they called him Sergeant 'O', was in front of Jacob. Lopez came in, brandished his weapon. He tried to talk him down and get him to put the weapon down, and he shot Sgt. Owens and then left the building," Greg Sanders said.
The sergeant was Timothy Owens, one of three people to die and 16 hurt in the mass shooting.
"Jacob, with his medic training, immediately got on top of Sgt. Owens and started administering CPR until the paramedics arrived," Sanders said.
Jacob considered Owens a role model.
Lopez apparently was angry about an issue with his leave, according to various reports.
"From what I understand, there was one bullet left in the gun. And that's the one Specialist Lopez used on himself," Sanders said.
Jacob's actions may earn him a commendation from President Obama at Wednesday's memorial service at Fort Hood, Sanders said. The White House had not released any information about any honors to be given at the ceremony Wednesday afternoon on Ft. Hood's Shadows Field.
Jacob Sanders is a 2011 graduate of Shawe Memorial High School and joined the army the next year.
Greg Sanders believe Jacob's late grandfather was watching over him as an angel.
His family, including stepmom Suzy, sister Sarah and brother Ty all are proud of his bravery and instinct. They worry, too.
"The way he reacted when put in that situation makes me proud of who he's become and who he is. Still, as a father, you are concerned about your child and that his emotional state is in good condition," Sanders said.
Greg Sanders hopes his son will take advantage of counseling from the Army.
Greg and Suzy will visit Jacob at Fort Hood this weekend.
The remembrance ceremony is scheduled for 3 p.m. EDT, 2 p.m. CDT Wednesday at Fort Hood.
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