(KILLEEN, Texas) — The soldier who opened fire at Fort Hood became enraged after an employee wouldn’t give him a leave of absence form, according to the father of one of the soldiers he shot.
Sgt. Jonathan Westbrook was struck four times — twice in the chest and twice in the arm — in the spray of bullets, but was able to tell his father the shooter became agitated after an employee asked him to come back the next day.
The killer returned with a gun, said Theodis Westbrook, recounting his son’s story to ABC News.
The shooter, Spc. Ivan Lopez, killed three soldiers and wounded 16 before being confronted by a military police officer and killed himself.
Sgt. Westbrook was among the first shot, twice in the arm and twice in the chest. He dove under his desk as the gunman kept firing, his father said.
Westbrook didn’t speak to his son until seven hours later.
“I love you,” the relieved dad said he told his son.
The wounded soldier’s sister, Ameetra Westbrook-Otis, added details from her brother’s story when she told ABC affiliate WAPT that her brother was working in the Human Resources Department when Lopez came in asking for leave of absence form. When the supervisor asked Lopez if he could come back the next day, Lopez looked exasperated and walked off, the sister said.
But he was back within minutes and started shooting. The first person shot was the supervisor, Westbrook-Otis said recounting her brother’s story. He then shot several other people, including her brother.
The sergeant told WAPT that Lopez “didn’t like the information that was told to him, so he became irate. He then left after the meeting was over with, and I guess he went to get his weapon, and he came back and fired shots.”
Sgt. Westbrook said he knew right away he needed to find safety.
“Next thing going through my head was my family. My wife, my children, my mom, my dad, make sure I get safe, so I can stay alive for them,” he told the station. “And that’s what I did. And through the grace of God, I came out of there alive.”
Despite his wounds, Westbrook was released from the hospital Friday.
The identities of the victims of Lopez’s lethal outburst are slowly emerging.
Among the dead is Sgt. Timothy Owens, 37. Mom Mary Muntean was still celebrating being reunited with the daughter she had given up for adoption when she heard the news.
Her euphoria at finding her daughter was cut short by losing her son.
Mary Muntean began to panic when her son didn’t answer her phone calls after she saw news of the shooting on TV.
“I thought, Oh God, please don’t let it be,” Muntean told ABC News affiliate WICS in Springfield, Ill.
“Very terrible…that they had to shoot my son,” she said. “He was a good person.”
Owens’ wife Billie broke the news to his mother.
“She said, ‘Mom, I want to tell you how sorry I am. Tim’s gone,’” Muntean said. “I broke down. I’m 77 years old and I can hardly take this.”
Mary Muntean had been reunited with her daughter only the week before.
Sgt. First Class Danny Ferguson died a hero, his fiance told CBS affiliate WTSP in Tampa, Fla.
Ferguson used his body to keep the door shut so Lopez couldn’t enter, said Kristin Haley, also a soldier stationed at Fort Hood.
“It seems the doors would be bullet proof, but apparently they’re not,” Haley, who was nearby but escaped uninjured, told the station. “If he wasn’t the one standing there holding those doors closed, that shooter would have been able to get through and shoot everyone else.”
Ferguson, from Mulberry, Fla., had just returned from Afghanistan, the station reported.
The third victim has yet to be named.
Major Patrick Miller was among the wounded. Information about the 32-year-old Iraq war veteran’s condition has not been released. Miller is from Allegany, N.Y. but lives with his wife outside Austin, Texas.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
Recent posts in National News