Local Reservist Honored at Fort Hood Ceremony

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Among the victims of the Fort Hood shooting honored in an official memorial Tuesday was an Army reservist from Serra Mesa.

Thirteen people were killed and 30 others were injured when shots were fired on Fort Hood. Army psychiatrist Nidal Malik Hasan, who was stressed about an impending deployment according to family, is thought to have opened fire on his fellow soldiers.

John Gaffaney, a supervisor for the county’s Adult Protective Services department who was recently deployed with the U.S. Army, was among those killed in the shooting.

Gaffaney, 56, served seniors and persons with disabilities who were victims of abuse through his role with the county.

Families gathered in Fort Hood for a memorial service just after 11 a.m. PT. Below the stage was the somber tribute to the fallen -- 13 pairs of combat boots, each with an inverted rifle topped with a helmet. A picture of each person rested below the boots.

During the eulogy, President Barack Obama mentioned each shooting victim by name and described their service to their country.

“After retiring from the Army as a major, John Gaffaney cared for society’s most vulnerable during two decades as a psychiatric nurse. He spent three years trying to return to active duty during this time of war. He was preparing to deploy to Iraq as a captain. He leaves behind a wife and son,” said President Obama.

Gaffaney left mid-October for a year deployment. His colleagues said they believe his mental health background and experience with post traumatic stress disorder would play a role in his assignment.

Maj. Nidal Hasan allegedly went on a shooting rampage at the Army post last Thursday. Soldiers reported that Hasan, who is Muslim, shouted the Arabic phrase for "God is Great" before opening fire.

President Obama told family and friends that no just and loving God looks with favor upon the Fort Hood slayings, and that the shooter ultimately will meet justice "in this world and the next."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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