Several dozen people lined the corner of Fort Hood Street and U.S. Highway 190 Wednesday morning holding signs reading “Honk if you support our troops” as the sound of car horns echoed through the air as motorists buzzed by.
The event was staged as a counter-protest to a controversial group who posted on Twitter that it would be picketing the April 2 Fort Hood shooting memorial slated for Wednesday afternoon.
Several dozen locals began assembling at the corner around 8:30 a.m. holding up signs and American flags. As of 11:30 a.m. the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan. — the group notoriously known for protesting military funerals — hadn’t showed up to picket.
Hilary Shine, spokeswoman for the city of Killeen, said the Westboro Baptist Church did not have a permit to picket, but the city only required a group to attain an assembly permit if it exceeds 25 people.
“They know that rule from all the times in the past that they have been here,” she said. “They usually don’t reach that 25 mark so they don’t have to get a permit.”
Shine said the city doesn’t have record of how many times the group has been to the area because they come in smaller groups, but “they’re no stranger” to Killeen.
“For a while they were here picketing every military funeral,” she said.
The group posted on its Twitter Wednesday morning that "signs will be ubiquitous at (Fort) Hood memorial." As of noon, Shine said the city's Code Enforcement hadn't reported any signs.
Shine said the Killeen Police Department is typically notified in some way when the group arrives in the city, but they hadn't received any word.
Read the full story in tomorrow's Killeen Daily Herald.
Contact Natalie Stewart at firstname.lastname@example.org or 254-501-7555