By Debbie Stevenson
Killeen Daily Herald
Vandals in Ohio tore American flags out of the yards of a dead Fort Hood soldiers family and neighbors a day after his funeral before setting a relatives car on fire.
Pfc. Tim Hines died July 14 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington of complications of injuries he suffered last month in a roadside bombing in Iraq.
The 21-year-old from Fairfield, Ohio, was a gunner on a Humvee in a convoy when it was hit by a roadside bomb June 19 in Baghdad. He enlisted in the Army in December 2003 and was a member of the 64th Military Police Company, 720th Military Police Battalion, 89th Military Police Brigade.
He was sent to Iraq in February. The bomb blew up on Fathers Day.
Hines died just two weeks short of becoming a father for the second time. His wife, Katy Hines, was 8 1/2 months pregnant with their first son, to be named Noah.
His funeral was Friday.
The flags were pulled out of the familys yard and neighbors yards at about 5:30 a.m. Saturday and were stuffed under the car on the street in front of their Fairfield home, police said.
The flags that had surrounded the property had been placed under the car, and obviously intentionally lit, Fairfield Police Chief Mike Dickey told CNN on Tuesday morning.
It was pretty clear from what occurred at the scene that this was an intentional and not an accidental act, Dickey told CNNs Daybreak anchor Carol Costello. Neighbors called it in. Of course, the fire department arrived and extinguished the blaze.
No one was injured. The car, a Saturn, was destroyed, the Associated Press reported. The car belonged to Hines sister-in-law.
No arrests had been made by early Tuesday. Authorities offered a $5,000 reward for tips, the AP reported.
As we get into this, we feel it was more of a crime of opportunity as opposed to a planned act, Dickey said on CNN. Although, were not perfectly convinced that it was totally random. We want to leave the door open to other eventualities.
Neighbors responded by buying and reposting about 200 flags in the front garden, Dickey said.
Hines suffered two fractures and tissue damage in his left leg and renal damage to both kidneys in the blast. Recently he developed pneumonia, his family said in a statement posted on one of the many Web sites set up in his honor.
He was the kind of soldier every NCO wishes for, said Capt. Donald Meeks in his memorial speech on July 18. He was completely dependable and willing to learn the Warrior craft. He would do what it took to do the job without all the excess whining and turbulence.
Hines was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Good Conduct Medal posthumously during the funeral. His wife accepted the medals, Cox News Service reported.
Tim is the absolute love of my life, Katy told reporters outside the church. Looking over pictures over my entire life, there is not one where he wasnt smiling or laughing.
She said his last words to her were, Help me.
Help you with what, sweetheart? Do you want me to stay? she responded. He nodded yes, then she kissed his lips and stroked his hair as he fell asleep, Cox reported.
Impact Player Partners is organizing a drive to build a home for Katy Hines and the couples daughter, Lily.
The project has been called Katys Home & You. Information is available at www.impactplayer.org. Organizers are seeking money and support from the building industry.
Contact Debbie Stevenson at email@example.com