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Local military parents in disbelief over Fort Hood shootings

November 05, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

TRI-STATE -- Area parents of men and women in the military expressed disbelief Thursday over shootings at Fort Hood, Texas, that left 12 people dead and more than 30 wounded, and they wondered how such an incident could occur at a military installation.

Julie Heckman of Mercersburg, Pa., said she sent a text message to her son, Christopher, after the shooting to check on him.

The 2008 graduate of James Buchannan High School is a Marine Corps private stationed at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Heckman said her son did not know about the shootings at the time.

She said she sent text messages to two of her son's friends, both of whom are in the Army, to let them know about the shootings.

Heckman said Thursday night she had not heard from her son's friends.

"It brings it close to home, that's for sure. It's hard to believe it even happened," Heckman said.

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Hagerstown resident Christina Doucette, whose daughter Allison M. Doucette is a U.S. Air Force airman, said of the shootings, "It's a shocking thing and it makes you think how in the world could this happen."

After she heard of the shootings, Doucette began thinking about her daughter, a 2002 North Hagerstown High School graduate.

Doucette said she reached her daughter about two hours after the shootings. But because they had to talk about another personal issue, they did not get to talk much about the shootings, Doucette said.

"I guess where she's at it's calm," Doucette said.

Doucette said her daughter is in California but she has been instructed not to say anything about her exact duties.

Doucette said she was surprised such an incident could occur at a military base, but then she is surprised when similar incidents occur at institutions like universities.

When asked if she was going to be more worried about her daughter in a military setting, Doucette said she won't be any more worried than usual.

"This sounds like an isolated incident," Doucette said.

Kevin Kearney of Clear Spring, whose son Chad is an U.S. Air Force airman, said he has worked at military institutions and security is usually tight. Cell phones with cameras are not allowed on military bases and items such as knives cannot be taken inside, Kearney said.

"I can't imagine someone getting something past a guard," Kearney said.

Kearney said if there are military officials on bases who are cracking under pressure, then something needs to be done about it.

Kearney said his son is stationed in Texas at a different base.

"Thank God he's not a Fort Hood," Kearney said.

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