Communities remember Fort Hood shooting victim with Illinois ties

By Amanda Porterfield |, Anna Carrera

Published 04/03 2014 08:51PM

Updated 04/14 2014 12:50PM

Latest: 10:02 pm, 4/12/14, Saturday
EFFINGHAM -- Sergeant Timothy Owens lived Missouri, but was originally from Effingham. This weekend, people in his hometown also remembered him in their own special way. Surrounded by names of the hundreds of military heroes from this county, together, Effingham added one more.

"He died saving so many people and everybody knows how big of a hero he is."

Belinda Rueter says she knew Owens years ago and organized the vigil to give his hometown a chance to grieve.

"It's heartwarming to know that all of these people in our community, granted Tim hasn't been here in a long time, his memory will be here forever."

The town proclaimed April 11, 2014, Sergeant Timothy Owens Day, with nearly 100 Patriot Guard Riders standing at attention.

"We're proud of him. That's the ultimate sacrifice when you die for somebody else."

For those who knew him, it was a chance to remember.

"Tim was very energetic, caring, loyal, respectful, best friend you could ever think of having."

"Every time he was in town, he would leave me a note on the door saying, 'Uncle Wally, I was here.'"

But, perhaps the most moving moment was a letter from one of his daughters, thanking the crowd for being here and the short time she had with her dad. His daughter lives in Texas and wants to put a memorial for him there to have a memory close by. Friends are selling window decals to raise money for that memorial.
Latest: 10:01 pm, 4/12/14, Saturday
ROLLA, MO -- Throughout the Midwest this weekend, people are remembering a fallen soldier who was killed at Ft. Hood. Timothy Owens was gunned down at the Texas military base.

Saturday, his funeral was held in Rolla, Missouri. 37-year old Army Sergeant Tim Owens was one of three soldiers shot and killed at Ft. Hood, Texas, on April 2, when Army Specialist Ivan Lopez opened fire at the base, before killing himself.

Saturday, the Rolla community, along with dozens of soldiers, came together to make sure Sgt. Owens' memory lives on. Owens was a graduate of Rolla High School. A bus full of soldiers from Ft. Hood, came to Rolla to say their goodbyes to Sgt. Owens.

Patriot Guard Riders were also in attendance. They escorted the hearse to the cemetery. The Patriot Guard Riders traveled from all over the Midwest to honor Sgt. Owens and his family.
Latest: 1:56 pm, 4/11/14, Friday
EFFINGHAM COUNTY -- People are gathering Friday night to remember an Effingham native killed last week. Sergeant Timothy Owens was one of three men gunned down at Fort Hood. Friday, friends are holding a candlelight vigil at the county courthouse museum lawn. It begins at 7 pm. Owens' funeral is Saturday in Missouri.
Update: 4:36 pm, 4/4/14, Friday
EFFINGHAM -- Tragedy which struck this week is hitting close to people in Central Illinois. The names of three victims from Wednesday's shooting at Ft. Hood were officially released. Army Sergeant Tim Owens, of Effingham, was one of the heroes of this story.

His mother says he was shot five times while trying to calm the shooter. The family is still trying to make sense of everything which happened.

Owens' mom, Mary Muntean, still lives in Effingham. That's where Owens spent the early years of his life. Friends and family members have spent the last couple of days together, remembering the last time they saw their hero.

Owens' friends say he loved military life because it gave him purpose. He joined the Army about ten years ago and had just re-enlisted for another six.

Meanwhile, people who were hurt in the shooting are doing better. Many have left the hospital and the conditions of at least three victims have been upgraded from serious to fair.

New details are also surfacing about the Ft. Hood gunman. A military official says there was an argument on base just before the shooting which may have set him off. They don't think he was targeting anyone specific. Ivan Lopez bought the gun he used last month. The Iraq War veteran was being evaluated for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Original: 8:51 pm, 4/3/14, Thursday
EFFINGHAM -- One of the victims in a deadly shooting in Fort Hood went to school in Central Illinois. Family members say 37-year old Army Sergeant Tim Owens went to Southside Elementary.

Owens' cousin, Glen Welton, says Owens had been serving at Fort Hood for a couple years. Welton texted Owens Wednesday night to see if he was okay, but he never heard back. He later heard the news from his sister. Family members say they're pretty shaken up after finding out what happened.

Welton said his cousin was always a peacemaker and he wouldn't be surprised to hear Owens tried to stop the shooter Wednesday. The Washington Post is reporting that's exactly what may have happened.

Owens only lived in Effingham for a few years, but he still has family ties there. His mother and other relatives still live in the area, as well as some friends. Welton says Owens was funny, but could also be serious, and that he would do anything for anyone.

Owens joined the Army about ten years ago and had re-enlisted for another six. He just got married last fall. People who knew him say they felt many different emotions when they found out what happened.

"I started texting him and tried calling, leaving messages with no reply," said Paul Eatherton, who was friends with Owens. "So I started texting all his friends and nobody knew anything until this morning."

Eatherton met Owens about 20 years ago in a Tae Kwon Do class he taught. Owens earned his black belt there, and the pair went on to run a martial arts school together.

"It's really hard to take," said Eatherton. "I'm stunned, I really am, that this could happen. You just don't expect it."

Owens' friends say they'll remember his smiling face. They say he will always be their hero.

No funeral arrangements have been set yet.

The shooting at Fort Hood left four people dead, including the shooter, and 16 hurt. Investigators say 34-year old Army Specialist Ivan Lopez opened fire at the military base in Texas.

He was an Iraq War veteran who received treatment for depression and anxiety. He was undergoing evaluation for post-traumatic stress disorder. Authorities say he used his own handgun during the rampage. He killed himself. Investigators don't know what his motive was.

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