Sgt. Kimberly Denise Munley is a Killeen police officer who was close to Fort Hood on Thursday when she heard the police radio reporting the attack at the SRP. Sergeant Munley, 34, is also member of Killeen’s SWAT team. Although the City of Killeen contracts to provide police services on the base, she was following a procedure that has now become the accepted approach for officers arriving at an “active shooter” crime scene before the SWAT team; i.e., a crime-scene where a gunman is at large, killing as many people as he can. Munley deployed active shooter protocol.
Sgt. Kimberly Denise Munley drove directly to the scene of the carnage and identified the active shooter within three minutes after Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan’s first shots were reported. Hasan was chasing a wounded soldier. She walked up and engaged him because her training taught her that “if you act aggressively to take out a shooter you will have less fatalities.”
It often takes SWAT crews 30 minutes or more to arrive at a crime scene. In other shootings like the school shooting at Columbine, active shooters continued killing victims while patrol officers, trained to wait for SWAT, had to stand by out of the line of fire. At Columbine, a few officers that were on the scene at the outset returned fire with pistols. They probably saved some lives but were ineffective without the rifles that have since become almost standard for many patrol officers. With an average time of one victim shot every fifteen seconds, first-responders like the patrol officer that stopped an active shooter in a South Carolina nursing home are critical.
As she headed towards the shooter, Hasan charged towards Munley firing and striking her more than once as she went into a crouched or kneeling position. Her partner may have struck Hasan with gunfire but that remains unclear at this time.
What is clear is that Munley shot at Major Hasan while he returned fire. She ran or walked rapidly toward him, continuing to fire; both she and Hasan went down, each with multiple bullet wounds.
The original 911 call came in at 1:23 p.m., and five minutes later Sergeant Munley had already shot the gunman. According to the New York Times:
Sergeant Munley began her career as a police officer in the beachside town of Wrightsville, N.C., after graduating from high school in nearby Wilmington. She quickly earned a reputation for fearlessness, despite her stature….
Sergeant Munley was wounded in both thighs and her right wrist. Sergeant Munley has two children. She joined the police force in January 2008 after a career in the Army much of which she spent at Fort Hood. Her husband is Matthew Munley, a member of the Special Forces. Munley is an advanced firearms instructor for the civilian force that assists military police on the base. She developed a love of shooting and hunting when she was young.
The information herein is pieced together from articles in the Washington Post and New York Times.
There is little information so-far about Munley’s partner. At least one police officer was killed in the firefight. But Munley’s partner, Sgt. Mark Todd, apparently survived the shootout. Todd told CNN:
Todd, who had become separated from Munley, saw that she (Sgt. Munley) had been shot. Hasan was 15 yards from him, Todd told CNN, “standing there hiding behind a telephone pole waving his weapon, firing it at people.” Todd said Hasan saw him, calmly pointed and shot. Todd couldn’t see a weapon — only a muzzle flash –and fired back. Hasan, who by then had allegedly shot 100 rounds, fell.
This officer’s bravery amazes all of us. Nevertheless, most of us that are not police officers could have done what she did- if you and I have the right training and the equipment.