Kimberly Munley only wanted two jobs in life: to be a police officer and to join the Army. She did both.
On the day Army Maj. Nidal Hasan opened fire at Fort Hood, Sgt. Munley was part of a civilian SWAT team at the Texas Army base. She and her partner, Sgt. Mark Todd of the Killeen Police Department, would be the two officers to eventually put a stop to Hasan's rampage on Nov. 5, 2009.
Former Police Sgt. Kimberly Munley was one of two civilian police officers at Fort Hood who fired on Army Maj. Nidal Hasan during his bloody rampage on Nov. 5, 2009. (Photo courtesy of Kimberly Munley)
Thirteen people, including a pregnant woman, lost their lives that day. Munley was one of the 32 people who were injured but survived. She now has a new mission in life: to fight for the Fort Hood survivors and for the families of those killed. Only narrowly escaping death herself, she believes God intervened for her.
"It didn't seem so then but it does now that I'm looking back," Munley told TheBlaze in an interview. Her story is part of a multi-part series about the Fort Hood shooting, the victims' struggles and their triumphs in survival. On Wednesday, TheBlaze TV's For The Record chronicled how survivors have spent the past four years battling the White House and the Army for recognition, compensation and to reclassify the shooting as an act of terror instead of "workplace violence."
For Munley, the years since the shooting have been a long road. She moved back to her childhood hometown in North Carolina and is raising two young daughters far from her former home in Texas. She is no longer a police officer, but she continues to advocate for the victims. Last November, she was approached by country music duo the Mulch Brothers, whose music was featured in the film "Country Strong" and who wanted to help.
"We know we haven't been forgotten," Munley said, speaking to TheBlaze in North Carolina. "And truthfully, I won't let people forget. I can't tell you how exciting it was to know that the Mulch Brothers were going to support the victims and their families — there's no words to describe it. I won't stop fighting for the soldiers who died and were wounded that day. They deserve to be awarded the Purple Heart, they need to be honored for what happened."
The Mulch Brothers are kicking off a nationwide tour on Feb. 21 from Memphis, Tenn., to help raise funds and awareness for the survivors.
"I could not be prouder of the tour we are about to begin to help all of the men and women impacted by this act of terror. I am not a political man nor do I claim to know it all, but I am for sure, 'till the day I die, pro-America and pro-military," David Mulch told TheBlaze.
They're donating the proceeds from iTunes downloads of their song "I'm All In" off their album "Next of Kin," a song they said has particular resonance.
"The title of that song represents how we feel, 'I'm all in,' and we hope the rest of America will feel the same," Mark Mulch said. "We just feel like we are doing the right thing as Americans to help Kim, who has become a friend since meeting her this past year. God gave me a talent with music and it just feels right to use that gift for this cause. We are humbled and honored to be a part of this. We are 'all in' and we hope everyone we meet along the way will be also 'in' making a wrong right."
Munley, who was already a fan of the brothers' music, said she was "instantly honored about the idea" when they approached her.
"After being introduced to Mark and David Mulch a short time later and capturing their passion to help the victims of Fort Hood, I also became a fan of their souls," Munley said. "Their patriotism for our country runs deep and the mutual desire we share to help our military has created a friendship I'll always treasure."
At 5-foot-3, Munley earned herself the nickname "Mighty Mouse" early in her career, after she jumped on the back of a suspect who was struggling to take her partner's weapon after a long pursuit.
"Out of the corner of his eye, he saw me flying through the air and tackling this guy," she said. "That's why he called me Mighty Mouse."
While it's been more than four years since the shooting, that day remains vivid in Munley's mind. Shot three times by Hasan, she flat-lined twice and even recalls hearing the doctors say over the operating table, "we're losing her" before she went under for surgery.
Surviving was a miracle, she said, recounting the minutes in her confrontation with Hasan on that fateful day.
It was 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 5, 2009 when Munley received the first call of shots fired. She thought at first it might be practice for a funeral detail that had forgotten to report in. But when the 911 dispatcher told her there had been screaming in the background, Munley realized it was much worse.
She and her partner arrived separately at the Soldier Readiness Processing Center, where soldiers were preparing for or returning home from deployment. Jumping out of her police car, she found herself only 30 feet from Hasan. He was pointing his semi-automatic pistol in her direction. She knew he was the shooter; while everyone else was running away, Hasan continued to walk toward her.
Her partner Todd was 20 feet to her left. He would ultimately deliver the final shot that took Hasan down, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down.
"Most people were running away from the scene and he was coming towards and then realized when I saw the red laser come across my eyes that it was definitely him," Munley said. Instead of chasing "the rabbit," she waited for Hasan to come around the corner and head for her. Once the area was cleared of people, she began firing at him. She hit him twice.
As she fired, Hasan shot back.
Munley was hit three times, once in her femoral artery in her thigh, and began to bleed out. She thought of her young daughters, and how she had to survive to see them again. She put pressure on her thigh to try to stem the water main of blood, but her confrontation with Hasan wasn't over.
Just minutes after she was hit, Hasan walked directly toward Munley. He was pointing his pistol and firing at her, and she continued to fire back. At one point, they were only six feet away from each other. He pointed the pistol at her head and then, she said, came the miracle.
"I still have my weapon and I’m looking up to try to fire again and then my weapon has a malfunction and jams," she said. "So, I’m looking down the barrel of his weapon and he tries to fire his again, and his weapon stalls and jams as well."
Because Hasan had been firing so many times and so quickly, his gun's chamber swelled and jammed.
"When I realized I couldn't fire, he walked up to me closer and then kicked my weapon out of my hand," Munley said.
Before Hasan could do anything else, her partner was able to get the final shot.
She knows she survived for a purpose. Her faith in God tells her that.
"There’s divine intervention for a reason," Munley said. "God put me here. God let me survive so that I could raise my children and so that I could fight for the victims of Fort Hood."
Today the group of survivors is very close-knit. Even now, when someone has a nightmare, they'll sometimes call Munley to talk.
"I went into the incident armed, knowing what I should do. I cannot imagine sitting there, doing your everyday life in the military and suddenly a guy walks in and starts spraying the whole place and you’re defenseless," she said.
She's committed to keeping up the fight no matter how long it takes to get what happened at Fort Hood labeled an act of terrorism and to get justice for the victims.
"My whole motive is to keep it up in the forefront, to keep nagging and complaining and doing whatever I can do to get this reclassified," Munley said. "There’s a lot of harm that’s been done to the victims over the past 4 1/2 years ... if it takes another 4 1/2 years to get the incident reclassified, that's what I'll do. My faith in God tells me it will happen and it's my faith in God that keeps me going."
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