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Fort Carson family relives Fort Hood tragedy

Fort Carson family relives Fort Hood tragedy

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - It's like lightning striking the same place twice.  That's how Amber Duncan describes what she felt when she heard there had been another mass shooting at Fort Hood, Texas.

"That's not supposed to happen," Duncan said.  "That's not supposed to happen there ever. It shouldn't have happened yesterday. It shouldn't have happened the first time."

Duncan and her family were stationed at Fort Hood in 2009.  On Nov. 5, her husband, a Sgt. in the Army, was at work while she babysat three children, including one of her own.  Her two older kids were in school. She remembers hearing the sirens on post and immediately turned to the local news.

"I kept hearing you need to take shelter. Shut and lock your doors," she said.  "Lock your windows. Close the windows. Go inside. Don't come out."

Duncan soon learned there had been a shooting.  At the time, there were rumors of a second shooter still on the run.  Duncan took the three kids into a closet and tried to get in contact with her husband.  Because of busy cell towers, she couldn't get through.

"I panicked," she said.  "I was trying to keep three toddlers quiet and calm.  I was trying to stay calm but I was panicking.  It was hard to explain why we had to sit in the dark and shut the door and why they couldn't play with their toys and why they couldn't go outside."

Eventually, Duncan learned that her husband was safe -- locked down in another building.   Her husband had just returned home from a 15-month deployment.  

"He just got back from a war zone," she said.  "You should be able to breathe and relax and be thankful that they're home but we couldn't."

In the end, 13 people were dead and 32 were injured in the 2009 shooting. 

On Wednesday, her pain and trauma resurfaced.  At first, Duncan said she thought she was watching news re-runs of the 2009 incident.  Then she realized there had been another attack.  

"You think about all these service members being there. You would think you were beyond safe," she said.  "All these men and women have been trained, but they didn't have a chance."

Now stationed at Fort Carson, Duncan says it's tough for her family to watch the tragedy unfold in their former home, and says she can't imagine going through it again herself.

"They're never going to forget this for the rest of their lives," she said.  "Just like I won't ever forget what happened that day."

Her advice for military families in Fort Hood is to stay connected.  Say hello and ask how your neighbor is doing.

"Take it one day at a time," she said.  "Stick together.  Not everyone is bad. Not everyone is scary.  You don't have to look over your shoulder and worry about the soldier standing next to you."

Duncan said she felt her military community come closer together, and despite the horrors, thinks back on her time at Fort Hood fondly.  If given the chance, she says she would move back in a heartbeat.

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