Soldier with White Earth ties among injured in Ft. Hood shooting rampage
BELCOURT, N.D. -- A shooting rampage Thursday in Texas killed 13 people and wounded 30, including a North Dakota man who was stationed at Fort Hood.
Army Sgt. Patrick Blue III, 23, was hit in the side by bullet fragments during the attack and was hospitalized to remove the fragments and get stitches. His dad, Patrick Blue Jr., said he was released from the hospital Friday morning.
"He was one of the luckier ones, and just caught a few fragments," he said.
Blue said it took a while to find out what happened to his son after he first heard about the afternoon shooting. "I was pretty shook up about it, and I was pretty much ready to jump in the car and go to Texas," he said.
After several hours, he was notified by his son's mother, Kathleen Sullivan, that she had received a text message saying their boy was going to be OK. He finally got a call from his son about 11 p.m. Thursday night and said he would get another call Friday night.
"It sounds like he's doing OK, but he's pretty well shook up," he said.
The younger Blue grew up in Belcourt, N.D., with his dad, and also spent time with his mom in White Earth.
KFYR-TV of Bismarck, N.D., reported that Blue is a Bemidji High School graduate, although he was born and raised in Belcourt.
In 2003, Blue graduated from Bemidji High School and decided to enlist into the U.S. Army, the television station reported.
Blue said his son has been through a lot during his six years in the Army. He enlisted before he was 18 and has already completed two tours of duty in Iraq. "They were going to deploy him last year, and that's when he decided to not go back," he said.
His son went absent without leave last year, but family members were able to talk him into returning before he got into serious trouble, he said. There is always the possibility of being ordered to more combat duty, but he said his son is getting help to deal with his stress and that has likely put another tour on hold.
"He's already done two tours of Iraq," he said. "He's pretty much going through therapy for the traumatic distress that he's going through."
That therapy has helped the younger Blue deal with some of his war-related issues, but it also provided a big shock during the attack -- the suspected shooter, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, was an Army psychiatrist who helped soldiers in distress.
"The worst thing is that shooter, my son had seen this guy everyday because he was a psychiatrist," Blue said.
His son still has four years of Army service because he recently reenlisted and will likely need to stay at Fort Hood to finish his commitment. "He doesn't have a choice," Blue said. "He's got to stay there."