Family member describes soldier killed in Texas post shooting as 'sweet, kind, accommodating'
A soldier with Rolla ties who was killed in the Fort Hood military post shooting Wednesday afternoon is being remembered as a “wonderful, sweet, kind, accommodating, young man” by his family.
Army Sgt. Timothy Owens, 37, was one of three soldiers killed by a gunman who opened fire in the 1st Medical Brigade area at the Texas post. The gunman also wounded 16 soldiers, before committing suicide, according to the Associated Press.
Secretary of the Army John McHugh said the gunman killed himself when confronted by a female military policeman.
Spc. Ivan Antonio Lopez, an Iraq war veteran who was being treated for mental illness, has been identified as the accused gunman.
Dee Humphrey, who lives outside Rolla, is Owens’s mother-in-law. On Friday, two days after the incident, she shared a little bit about Owens and how she would like him to be remembered.
“When we (Dee and her husband George, a country music singer with the Big River Band) met him (Owens), he was like one our kids,” Humphrey said. “We couldn’t have asked for a better son-in-law.”
Owens had been married to Humphrey’s stepdaughter, Billy, since August of last year.
According to Humphrey, the two met while attending Rolla High School in the 1990s after Owens, who was born and raised in Effingham, Ill., and his family moved to Rolla.
According to current RHS Principal Jim Pritchett, Owens attended RHS twice. No start date was given, but Pritchett said Owens left RHS in April 1994 and came back to RHS at some point before leaving again in 1995 to transfer to another school.
Owens dropped out of high school in 1995, according to his mother, Mary Muntean, and school records, the AP reported, and she said he earned his GED diploma after joining the Army in 2004.
Billy, a Rolla native, graduated from RHS in 1996, according to Pritchett.
The two parted ways, Humphrey said, but years later, her stepdaughter contacted Owens, who had moved to Texas, and the two started dating.
Humphrey remembers meeting Owens for the first time when he came to stay for two weeks with Humphrey’s family in June of last year, two months before the wedding.
“They got married at Grandma Virginia's house (in Rolla),” Humphrey said.
“He was amazing,” Humphrey recalled, noting that Owens helped remodel her bathroom during his two-week stay. “He was a wonderful cook. He fit right into our home. He could light up your face with his smile. I just can’t say enough good things about him.” Owens enjoyed working on cars, too, Humphrey recalled.
Humphrey said the couple initially moved to Texas and lived outside of the post for a while before moving onto the post.
Owens will be missed, Humphrey said, noting that he touched many people’s lives, including two children from Billy’s previous marriage.
“He came and went in a flash,” Humphrey said, adding that as a mother herself, said she feels bad for Owens’s mother.
“He was all she had ... It's just really hard and I’m very sad for his mother. I'm a mom myself, so my heart goes out to her,” Humphrey said.
Owens’s wife is handling funeral arrangements, Humphrey said. Owens will be buried next to his brother in the Lake Springs area.
“He really, really, really loved Billy and showed her so much affection,” Humphrey said.
Humphrey learned of Owens’s death after Billy called them Wednesday night, April 2.
According to Humphrey, the military police went to Billy’s home and took her to the hospital, where Owens had been taken. In a room full of doctors and chaplains, Billy was told that Owens “didn’t make it,” Humphrey said.
Wednesday night there were several posts of sympathy on Billy’s Facebook page after the community learned of the incident.
Owens was a heavy vehicle driver who had also been deployed in Iraq and Kuwait, according to the AP.
The other two victims who were killed were identified Friday as 39-year-old Daniel Ferguson, of Mulberry, Fla., and 38-year-old Carlos Lazaney Rodriguez, of Puerto Rico.
“We send out our thoughts and sympathy to all of the families and men who were injured and lost their lives in this,” Humphrey said.