(KILEEN, Texas) — Mary Muntean began to panic when her son, Sgt. Timothy Owens, didn’t answer her phone calls after she saw news of the shooting in Fort Hood on TV.
“I thought, Oh God, please don’t let it be,” she told ABC News affiliate WICS in Springfield, Ill.
Owens, 37, was one of three people shot dead by Spc. Ivan Lopez this week in a shooting that has yet to be explained. Sixteen others were wounded and three remain in critical condition.
“Very terrible…that they had to shoot my son,” Muntean said. “He was a good person.”
Owens’ wife Billie broke the news to his mother. “She said, ‘Mom, I want to tell you how sorry I am. Tim’s gone,’” Muntean said. “I broke down. I’m 77 years old and I can hardly take this.”
One of the other victims, Sgt. First Class Danny Ferguson, died a hero, his fiance told CBS affiliate WTSP in Tampa, Fla.
Ferguson used his body to keep the door shut so Lopez couldn’t enter, said Kristin Haley, also a soldier stationed at Fort Hood.
“It seems the doors would be bullet proof, but apparently they’re not,” Haley, who was nearby but escaped uninjured, told the station. “If he wasn’t the one standing there holding those doors closed, that shooter would have been able to get through and shoot everyone else.”
Ferguson, from Mulberry, Fla., had just returned from Afghanistan, the station reported.
The third victim has yet to be named.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
Sara Ganim and Eric Levenson, CNN
Dylan Byers, CNN
Mariel Turner, Kacey Montoya & Nerissa Knight, KTLA
Andreas Preuss, CNN