Staff Sgt. Justin DeCrow was an Indiana farmboy who joined the U.S. Army 12 years ago out of love for country and hope for a better life.DeCrow's mother is right. Her son should have been safe there. Our military failed her son. Another Hoosier soldier, Lafayette's Cpl. Nathan Hewitt, was lucky to survive the carnage at Ft. Hood. Here's a little on his story:
DeCrow, 32, Plymouth, lost his life Thursday when a gunman opened fire at Fort Hood, Texas, killing 13 and injuring 30 before he was shot.
On Friday, DeCrow's family was coming to terms with his death, reportedly at the hands of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, an Army psychiatrist due to be deployed to Afghanistan.
"He was on a base," DeCrow's wife, Marikay DeCrow, said in a telephone interview from the couple's home in Evans, Ga., where she had hoped to be reunited after her husband finished his work at Fort Hood. "They should be safe there. They should be safe."
Daniel DeCrow, Rochester, feared for his son's safety as he watched news of the mass shooting at Fort Hood's Soldier Family Readiness Center flash across the TV screen.
"When that building came on TV, the hair on my neck stood up because I knew he was in there or he was nearby," Daniel DeCrow told The Indianapolis Star in a telephone interview . . .
He was working at Fort Hood until paperwork for his medical discharge came through and was looking forward to being reunited with his family, she said.
His wife has a business in Georgia teaching children to ride horses. He had lined up a job as an Army contractor at nearby Fort Gordon.
Marikay DeCrow, who had known her husband since the start of elementary school, said she wanted everyone to know what a loving man he was. The couple have a 13-year-old daughter, Kylah.
"He was well-loved by everyone," she said through sobs. "He was a loving father and husband, and he will be missed by all."
When Army Cpl. Nathan Hewitt hit the ground after hearing gunshots in a Fort Hood medical center Thursday, the soldier from Lafayette thought he was reacting to a training exercise.
It was only after he saw blood on the floor that he realized the rounds coming from the shooter's handgun weren't beanbags.
"All I heard was him yelling and the gunshots fire," said Hewitt, who is based at Fort Hood. "I saw him after I was trying to move out of the way and get behind something. The only thing I could see was that he was walking around and just shooting."
Moments before, Hewitt had received the vaccinations he needed to deploy to Afghanistan, along with about 300 other unarmed soldiers waiting for routine procedures at the medical center.
The everyday scene was shattered when the suspected shooter, identified as 39-year-old Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, opened fire.
Authorities said 13 people died and 30 were wounded in the a ttack, including Hewitt, a 2000 Jefferson High School graduate.
Hewitt said that after he sought initial cover, he ran toward the medical center's front door, away from the shooter.
He tried to communicate with those around him and lead them to safety -- but Hewitt said he's unsure how many followed. There were about 30 people in the medical center's general waiting area when the shots rang out, he said.