WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Alonzo Lunsford was working inside the Soldier Readiness Center at Fort Hood, Texas on the morning of November 5, 2009 when his life changed forever. The now-retired Staff Sergeant recalls meeting Major Nidal Hasan before that fateful day. In fact, Lunsford came in contact with Hasan the morning of the shooting, just minutes before the Army psychiatrist opened fire in one of the worst mass killings in U.S. history.
"I recognized him, he recognized me, and I felt everything was fine," Lunsford said in an interview. "Then after lunch, the whole world changed."
Lunsford says Hasan sat inside the readiness center with his head in his hands for several minutes. He walked over to a civilian worker, and told her she was wanted in another area. Then came the words "Allahu Akbar", and Lunsford saw Hasan start shooting.
Alonzo Lunsford was shot seven times by Hasan in the attack. Four years later, he is mostly blind in his left eye, has mobility issues because of his injuries, and he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. Lunsford is leading the effort to have the U.S. Army and the Department of Defense officially classify the Fort Hood incident as a "terrorist attack", to make survivors eligible for additional benefits they cannot receive at this time.