Exclusive Interview: Manassas Fire Vol. Chief at Fort Hood when Shots Rang Out
Matt Lausch designed the new fire alarm system that will sound at a new Army medical center that will soon open at Fort Hood, Texas.
He was inspecting that system today at 4:30 p.m. central time when shots rang out on the base. At least 13 people were wounded when an unknown gunman opened fire on them before killing himself, according to initial reports.
Lausch, when not traveling for his job as a contractor, is the Volunteer Chief at the Manassas Fire and Rescue Department.
Today on base, he said everyone was ordered to shelter in place as soon as shots rang out, so he about 20 of his co-workers at the site shuffled into a construction trailer at the job site where they remained more than three hours Wednesday night.
“The wide area mass notification system told us to seek shelter immediately, and once you are in place to stay away from windows,” explained Lausch. “As we were doing that we were receiving reports from social media that there is an active shooter on the base and that there were multiple casualties.”
Ironically, the system he designed will link into the base’s mass notification system that, if it were operational today, would have been used to warn those on base about the shooting.
Lausch called his family to let them know “everything was going to be OK.” Inside the trailer, they did their best to keep the mood as light as possible given the circumstances.
“We’re talking about anything and everything other than the incident. We know the authorities are doing the best that they can to keep us alls safe and just eagerly awaiting word that we can leave the site,” he said.
Lausch doesn’t know how close he is to where the actual shootings took place.
“It could be three miles away or it could be three blocks,” he said.
The site of the new hospital, Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, is located next to railroad tracks and the main entrance to the base.
At Fort Hood since March 25, Lausch is expected to return to Northern Virginia on Friday.
A mass shooting at Fort Hood in 2009 took the life of Maj. Libardo Eduardo Caraveo, 52, of Woodbridge, as well as 12 others. At least 30 other people were injured in the shooting.
The shooter — Nidal Malik Hasan – was sentenced to death for the murders. It was recorded as the worst mass shooting ever to occur on a U.S. military base.