• December 18, 2014

Obama’s visit to Fort Hood for memorial service causes little disruption in Killeen

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Posted: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 11:32 pm

President Barack Obama’s visit to Fort Hood on Wednesday caused minimal disruption in the city as increased security measures were put in place.

Fort Hood officials shut down the post’s main gate at T.J. Mills Boulevard and several others at 11 a.m. in preparation for the president’s arrival.

The gates reopened after his departure around 3 p.m.

Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and several top-ranking officials were on post to honor the April 2 shooting victims.

Killeen spokeswoman Hilary Shine said the Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport experienced a short delay with one incoming and one departing flight.

“The incoming flight had to circle for a few minutes while Air Force One landed, and the plane waiting to depart had to hold off for about eight minutes until it was cleared to take off,” she said.

Despite the security measures on post, traffic on nearby U.S. Highway 190 was steady for commuters.

Don Stoddard, who was repairing several 7-Eleven convenience stores in the area, said he “had no problems” passing through Killeen on his way to Austin from Dallas.

The ease of travel was a stark contrast to Tuesday’s congestion while Fort Hood officials increased vehicle checks for motorists entering the installation. Post officials, in an effort to alleviate congestion along the highway, gave the majority of military personnel Wednesday off.

But some parents were caught off-guard by an unexpected security measure.

Chase Cullen, a parent of a Clarke Elementary School student, said when he went to pick up his daughter from school, it was on lockdown.

Cullen said he was told by staff they were conducting a drill.

Ramona Bellard, Killeen Independent School District spokeswoman, said several on-post schools were put on temporary lockdown per request of Fort Hood officials.

"It was not a lockdown per se but a general 'restriction' of movement on post as a security measure," Bellard said in an email.

In a message to parents Wednesday, school officials said Killeen ISD received a security order from Fort Hood directing students be held until the all-clear was given following Obama’s departure.

“It was a general restriction of movement on post as a security measure,” according to the message.

The lockdown began shortly before 3 p.m. and was lifted around 3:30 p.m.

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