Family remembers Fort Hood shooting victim with Illinois ties


EFFINGHAM (WCIA)  -- One of the victims in a deadly shooting in Fort Hood went to school in central Illinois. Family members say 37-year-old Army Sergeant Tim Owens went to Southside Elementary in Effingham. 

Owens' cousin, Glen Welton, told us Owens had been serving at Fort Hood for a couple years. Welton texted Owens on Wednesday night to see if he was okay, but he never heard back. He later heard the news from his sister. Family members say they're pretty shaken up after finding out what happened. 

Welton said his cousin was always a peacemaker and he wouldn't be surprised to hear Owens tried to stop the shooter on Wednesday. The Washington Post is reporting that's exactly what may have happened. 

Owens only lived in Effingham for a few years, but he still has family ties there. His mother and other relatives still live in the area, as well as some friends. Welton says Owens was funny, but could also be serious, and that he would do anything for anyone. 

Owens joined the army about ten years ago and had re-enlisted for another six. He just got married last fall. People who knew him say they felt many different emotions when they found out what happened. 

"I started texting him and tried calling, leaving messages with no reply," said Paul Eatherton, who was friends with Owens. "So I started texting all his friends and nobody knew anything until this morning." 

Eatherton met Owens about twenty years ago in a Tae Kwon Do class he taught. Owens earned his black belt there, and the pair went on to run a martial arts school together. 

"It's really hard to take," said Eatherton. "I'm stunned, I really am, that this could happen. You just don't expect it." 

Owens' friends say they'll remember his smiling face. They say he will always be their hero. 

No funeral arrangements have been set yet. 

The shooting at Fort Hood left four people dead, including the shooter, and 16 hurt. Investigators say 34-year-old Army Specialist Ivan Lopez opened fire at the military base in Texas. He was an Iraq War veteran who received treatment for depression and anxiety. He was undergoing evaluation for post-traumatic stress disorder. Authorities say he used his own handgun during the rampage. He killed himself. Investigators don't know what his motive was.



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