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Family Reacts to Death of Effingham Soldier at Fort Hood
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"Living a nightmare" is how one central Illinois family describes what they're going through after learning their loved one is one of three people gunned down by a fellow soldier at Fort Hood.
Army Sgt. Timothy Owens was born and raised in Effingham. His family is heartbroken as the unthinkable tragedy hits home.
"I see the flash on the TV and it said Fort Hood and I thought oh God no, that's where Tim's at. Please don't let it be," said Mary Muntean, the mother of Sgt. Owens.
Owens, 37, was stationed at Fort Hood and worked as counselor. The Effingham native is described as brave, honest and kind.
"I just don't believe it yet," his aunt Alice Welton said.
Wednesday afternoon, authorities say Specialist Ivan Lopez shot three people at the Texas army base, including Owens, before turning the gun on himself.
Owens' uncle, Wallace Gerhardt, said, "You see it happening but you never know it's going to come to you. It's just very disturbing."
Owens just got married in August, and has two teenagers from previous relationships.
The 10-year Army veteran served in Iraq and Kuwait. His mother tells us he had just signed on for six more years.
Gerhardt said, "He was a very honorable individual. I don't think he knew any strangers. Everybody Tim met got along with him."
In 2009, Fort Hood suffered a similar shooting incident. Then, Army Maj. Nidal Hasan killed 13 people and injured others. Owens' family believes the Army base should've done more to prevent another tragedy, and they say if it had, Owens may still be alive.
"You'd think they'd have more security and be more ready for something like that to happen. I just don't understand," Gerhardt said.
Owens' mother Mary doesn't think her son's death will fully sink in until she has to bury him.
"Very terrible... that [he] had to shoot my son. He was a good person," Muntean said.
Owens' family has not yet made funeral arrangements. The Army is offering counseling to the families of those killed in the shooting.