The stepmother of the police officer who shot an Army psychiatrist suspected of opening fire on fellow soldiers said Friday the woman's heroics are not surprising.
Wanda Barbour told The Star-News of Wilmington that she knew Sgt. Kimberly Munley was involved when she heard a female officer at Fort Hood had shot and wounded Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan.
"When they said a female officer, a little part of me just knew," Barbour told the newspaper. "She is a very great person with a great spirit."
Officials say 34-year-old Munley, who was wounded, ended the crisis. She was recovering Friday in stable condition.
"We're just so grateful and thankful to the Lord that she's safe," Barbour said. "Our hearts just ache for the loss of others, too, and hers, too. She's still upset about that."
Lt. Gen. Bob Cone said Munley and her partner responded within three minutes of reported gunfire Thursday afternoon. Cone said Munley shot the gunman several times despite being shot herself.
"She happened to encounter the gunman. In an exchange of gunfire, she was wounded but managed to wound him four times," Cone said. "It was an amazing and aggressive performance by this police officer."
Munley is the daughter of Dennis Barbour, a former mayor of Carolina Beach. The coastal town is about 15 miles south of Wilmington.
Wrightsville Beach Police Chief John Carey said Munley, who worked for the force from 2000 to 2002 before moving away from the area, was a petite officer who worked well with others.
"She was a very personable officer. She got along good with everyone," he said. "She wasn't afraid of anything."
Carey said Munley joined the force in March 2000 as a reserve officer. She later became a permanent employee in fall of that year.
"She was a good shot," Carey said of Munley's shooting and training. "Her abilities and the training that she got here hopefully had a lot to do with preparing her for that situation."
Carey said several of his officers, who have kept in touch with Munley over the years, spoke with her earlier Friday. He said she's still recovering from her wounds, which include a shot to her thigh. But he said everyone on the force is proud.
"I think everybody here is," he said. "We're just thankful she was able to intervene."
Authorities said the 39-year-old Hasan went on a shooting spree Thursday that left 13 people dead at the Texas post. He was among 30 people wounded and remained hospitalized on a ventilator on Friday. All but two of the injured were still hospitalized, and all were in stable condition.
Wanda Barbour told the newspaper she and her husband are heading to Texas.
A message left by The Associated Press at the Barbour home was not immediately returned.
Dave Spencer, principal at John T. Hoggard High School in Wilmington, N.C., said he knew Munley as a student athlete who was involved in several academic and community service-oriented clubs before graduating in 1993.
"She was just a very well-rounded student athlete," Spencer said of Munley's participation in volleyball and softball. "She's the type of kid that stands out, even 16, 17 years later."
Spencer said the school will briefly honor Munley during a football match against a rival team Friday night.
"Anyone is going to be surprised when they know someone who takes such a heroic step," he said. "But if you remember the kind of young person she was, you could easily understand it."
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