Fort Hood cop's priorities: Blood loss, day care
Thursday, November 12, 2009; 11:25 AM
In an extreme example of the multi-tasking familiar to moms everywhere, one of the police officers hailed as a Fort Hood hero says she had two priorities after she and another officer stopped a gunman who had just killed 13 people.
One: get a tourniquet applied to her thigh, bleeding heavily where a bullet had pierced her femoral artery.
Two: arrange for someone to pick up her toddler from day care.
Sgt. Kimberly Munley, 34, was interviewed on NBC's "Today" show Thursday morning along with Sgt. Mark Todd, who also responded to the shooting. They appeared on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" Wednesday afternoon.
The two police officers, who protect the sprawling Army post in Killeen, Tex., as part of the Fort Hood police department, said they relied on training and instinct to subdue the gunman who had opened fire in a medical building crowded with unarmed soldiers.
Authorities have not said definitively whether Army Maj. Nidal M. Hasan, identified by police as the shooter, was felled by bullets fired by Munley or Todd or both. The two arrived in separate squad cars, within minutes of the initial 911 call. Hasan was hit four times; he is under guard and recovering from his wounds at a military hospital in San Antonio.
Todd, a 25-year law enforcement veteran, told Winfrey on Wednesday that he had never before fired his weapon in the line of duty. He described approaching Hasan's prone body, kicking his weapon away and placing him in handcuffs.
"We're trained to shoot until there is no longer a threat," Todd said. "And once he was laying down on his back, his weapon just fell into his hand and I'm, like, 'Okay, now's the time to rush him and secure him.' "
Munley said during the "Today" show that the knowledge that so many were killed "was devastating."
"I wish that we would have gotten there faster, to prevent any lives from being lost," she said, eyes brimming. "Because I know there's a lot of families out there suffering right now. . . . I just wish the call would have came even quicker."
The petite police officer, who stands 5 feet 2 inches tall, said she was hit by three bullets. One struck the knuckle of her right hand; one passed through her right knee, then hit her left leg; and one pierced the femoral artery in her left thigh.
"I knew from the amount of blood and the color of the blood that was coming out" of the thigh wound that it was gravely serious, Munley said, sitting in a wheelchair with a blanket spread over her legs.
The soldiers who ran to help her knew it, too; even as she urged them to get pressure on the wound, they were fashioning a tourniquet.
Bleeding stanched, Munley immediately entered what "Today" hosts Ann Curry and Meredith Viera -- themselves working mothers -- dubbed "Mommy Mode." She located her cellphone and arranged for someone to pick up her 2-year-old daughter (an older daughter, age 12, presumably gets home from school on her own).
"So the balancing act of motherhood and being a police officer did not end, even at that moment, for you," said Curry.
"Absolutely not," Munley said, smiling slightly. "It never does."