Private Marquest Smith was in the Soldier Readiness Center getting his final paperwork before deploying to Afghanistan when he heard gunfire. He threw the woman next to him to the ground, shielding her with his own body.
"I just kept thinking, 'This can't be happening, this can't be happening, not now," Smith said.
When it was over, he had a bullet hole in the sole of his boot, but his body was in one piece. Smith pulled four fellow soldiers out of the building, all of whom had been injured by a brother in arms.
"I'm just hurt because he's one of our own and he did something like this to, to our family," Smith said.
After it was all over, 13 people in that room were dead. Jason Dean Hunt of Oklahoma was just 22 years-old. He was an avid video gamer and a quiet family guy. He was married two months ago.
Private Francheska Velez was only 21 and was three months pregnant. She had finished a tour of duty in Afghanistan and was headed home to Chicago for Christmas and maternity leave.
Private First Class Michael Pearson was also 21-years-old. He was from Bolingbrook, Ill and was a gifted guitarist who wanted to serve his country and see the world, according to his family.
"He was content being who he was and who he was was Mikey. You can't really describe him. That family lost their gem," said Jessica Koerber, a family friend.
Families also lost 29-year-old Sergeant Amy Krueger from Kiel, Wis., 19-year-old Private First Class Aaron Thomas Nemelka of West Jordan, Utah, Michael G. Cahill, a 62-year-old civilian physician's assistant from Spokane, Wash. and 51-year-old Russell Seager from Racine, Wisc., a Captain in the Army Reserve.
There are stories of heroics too. Amber Bahr, 19, tied a tourniquet around a fellow soldier and carried him to safety, not realizing that she had been shot too, in the back.
And there's the woman who may have saved the most lives. A civilian officer who ran straight for the shooter as he was firing and shot back, bringing him down with four bullets. Her neighbors say that's the kind of woman Munley is.
"A few months back her home was burglarized and she fought them off herself, then went around the neighborhood to make sure everyone else was ok," said Erin Houston, a neighbor.
Munley is in the hospital recovering from a gunshot wound to the back.
But even those who escaped unscathed have a lot of healing ahead of them.
"Mixed emotions. One emotion is anger, one is fear," Smith said. "If it can happen once, it can happen again."
The bodies of the victims will be taken to Dover Air Force base in Delaware for autopsies and forensic tests, said a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
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