Meeker native shocked at Fort Hood shootings

MEEKER I Like everyone, Daniel and Deni Saucedo were shocked by the shooting spree last week at the Army base at Fort Hood, Texas.
“It was definitely scary and shocking,” said Deni Saucedo, formerly Back, who is from Meeker. “It was crazy. (At first) they thought there were multiple shooters, because so many were injured.”
Twelve soldiers and one civilian were killed and nearly 30 others wounded by the accused shooter – Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan. The fact Hasan is a fellow soldier made the events even more frightening, Deni Saucedo said.
“It was from someone from within,” she said. “When I first heard about it, I thought it would be a civilian. He was only going for soldiers, which is weird, too. It will be interesting to see since he’s still alive what his motive was, why he did what he did.”
Deni and Daniel Saucedo, who were married at Campbell Creek Ranch in upriver Rio Blanco County, now live in Copperas Cove, Texas, which is located near Fort Hood. Daniel, who is still recovering from wounds he suffered during a mission in Iraq last year, reports to Fort Hood every day. However, he was not on base at the time of the shootings.
“That’s where he reports for everything he does,” Deni Saucedo said of the Fort Hood Army base. “Whether it’s work related or medically related.”
Daniel Saucedo’s father, who works on post, was there at the time of the shootings.
“He heard the gunshots and everything,” Deni Saucedo said, adding, “Everyone we knew was safe, but our phones were going off when it was happening. A lot of our friends who have moved away were trying to get a hold of us.”
Danger is a fact of life for soldiers serving in a war zone, but military bases in the United States are considered to be a safe haven, which Deni Saucedo said made last week’s shootings even scarier.
“You go on base and you should have that sense of security, especially for the families that live there,” Deni Saucedo said.
Heightened security was one of the first visible signs of how life on the base had changed in the aftermath of the shootings.
“Daniel said there are a lot of armed guards,” Deni Saucedo said. “It has definitely created quite a stir. But how do you prevent that? You don’t. (Soldiers) have the access to the weapons.”
The scene of the shooting, Deni Saucedo said, took place at a facility “where many soldiers are deploying or returning. Fort Hood is a base where most units deploy from, that’s why they are here.”
Daniel Saucedo, who continues to undergo physical therapy as part of his rehabilitation, is a platoon sergeant in the Army. His unit has orders to deploy to Iraq next October.
“He’s been there four times,” Deni Saucedo said. “Right now, they don’t have a max of how many times you can go.”
Currently, Daniel Saucedo is in what is called a Warrior Transition Unit (WTU). WTUs “provide critical support to wounded soldiers, who are expected to require six months of rehabilitative care and the need for complex medical management,” according to a U.S. Army Web site.
“He’s not able to run, but doctors are hopeful he will get his full range of motion back,” Deni Saucedo said. “He can request to be reclassified, or he could go to a different position that doesn’t have the physical demands of being a scout. He could still go overseas, but it would be different.
“When they (soldiers) go (to war zones), that’s something that’s on their minds. They know the danger is there,” Deni Saucedo added. “But for here, that’s not what you’d expect.”