Tuesday, September 2 2014 10:07 AM EDT2014-09-02 14:07:52 GMT
Labor Day weekend has a special significance for alligator hunters in Mississippi. A few days into the start of this year's hunting season, a record-setting 756-pound gator was caught by Robert MahaffeyMore >>
Labor Day weekend has a special significance for alligator hunters in Mississippi. A few days into the start of this year's hunting season, a record-setting 756-pound gator was caught by Robert Mahaffey of Brandon in the first weekend of the season.More >>
MCCOMB, MS (Mississippi News Now) -
His sister says the Mississippi soldier shot four times by a gunman on an army base, has improved enough to be released from the hospital.
The Smithdale man was one of sixteen people injured in Wednesday's shooting rampage at Fort Hood in Texas.
U.S. Army Sgt. Jonathan Westbrook's father says his son found himself on the front lines of an attack he didn't expect.
For hours on Wednesday, Theodis Westbrook says he didn't know his son's fate, only that he had been shot.
He said he feared the worst, remembering the shooting rampage four and a half years ago at Fort Hood.
"Is it as bad? Is it as bad (as that)?" Theodis asked. "If so, my son probably won't survive this."
Then Sgt. Westbrook's sister managed to get through to him.
"He said, 'I'm fine.' I said, 'I'm coming over there.' He said, 'You don't have to come over there. They have everything on lockdown. You can't come. I'm fine,'"Armetra Westbrook Otis said. "And the phone messed up. It went out. And so, I felt a little bit better because I heard his voice."
Theodis finally heard from his son at midnight on Thursday.
"I could only imagine what my child was going through, to see somebody else get shot down and then realize the gun is coming at you next," Theodis said.
Theodis said he was told a soldier, possibly the eventual shooter, came to Fort Hood's personnel office, where Jonathan worked, to get a leave form.
When one of the officers told the man to come back the next day to pick up that form, the man left, then returned with a gun and opened fire.
"The first guy he shot right in front of my son was killed, and then he turned the gun towards Jonathan... aimed it... and fired," Theodis said. "I don't know how many times he fired, but he hit my son four times."
Theodis supported his son's service in the U.S. Army, including a tour in Afghanistan.
But Wednesday's events cause him to question the security of U.S. military facilities.
"The fact that he went to Afghanistan and could have lost his life in any number of ways over there, survived that, and then come back here and almost lose his life in a secure U.S. Army installation,military installation. That's really hard to reconcile," Theodis said.
Otis said Sgt. Westbrook was in good spirits even after it happened, telling her that "Getting shot was no joke."
Otis said she was surprised to hear him acting like his old self so soon.
The family plans to travel to Texas as soon as possible to be with Sgt. Westbrook as he recovers.