A local woman injured during the Fort Hood shooting is not giving up the fight to reclassify the mass shooting as a terrorist attack.
Killeen resident Anna Ellis suffered a back injury during the shooting when she was trampled by people fleeing from the gunman.
Since then, Ellis has been unable to return to work in a full-time capacity. In addition to the back injury, she suffered contusions to both knees and carpal tunnel syndrome as a result. She also was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Ellis plans to send a letter to multiple Congress members who have been attempting to get the Defense Department to reclassify the attack from “workplace violence” to an act of terrorism.
So far, the department has refused to change its classification, stating that any change would negatively affect the upcoming court-martial of accused Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan.
Many have filed suit against the Department of the Army and the Defense Department, arguing that political correctness is costing them thousands of dollars in benefits.
“I just think the whole thing is just really sad,” Ellis said. “There were statements made about them helping the people at Fort Hood and helping the soldiers, helping the wounded and survivors. ... Things were done to a point and then time passed, and then they said, ‘Well, that’s the end of that.’”
Ellis worked in human resources at a building adjacent to where the attack occurred.
Woman also trampled
Michelle Harper worked as a phlebotomist in Building 42003, where most of the victims were killed. She also was trampled and now suffers from injuries to her neck and spine.
Ellis and Harper both said they have had trouble getting health care.
“Nobody wants to take care of me like they’re supposed to,” Harper said.
“It’s been a long hard road as far as getting the proper medical care I need.”
Doctors urged her to return to work part time, but even going near the Soldier Readiness Center can cause a panic attack.
“It feels like a closing space, like a box that you can’t see the way out,” Harper said.
The lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, former soldier Shawn Manning, said he lost about $70,000 worth of benefits he would have been entitled to if the Defense Department had classified the attack as terrorism. Army reservists have been hit particularly hard by the shooting.
Manning was shot six times.
“It is the same as if I was walking down the street and got hit by a car,” he said, describing the government’s position.
The government requested a stay in all proceedings until Hasan’s trial concludes. With another delay now on the table, the trial could last until 2014.
Plaintiffs’ attorney Reed Rubinstein said they will argue the stay at the end of June.
Contact Philip Jankowski at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7553