FORT HOOD — Four soldiers were honored Tuesday for their actions in taking down a gunman at Fort Hood on Feb. 6.
The 3rd Cavalry Regiment “Brave Rifles” troopers disregarded their own safety and leapt into action when a former soldier visiting the regimental area allegedly opened fire with a handgun, subduing the shooter and taking away the weapon until military police could arrive on scene.
The soldiers were awarded the Army Commendation Medal by the regiment’s commander, Col. Kevin Bradley. They are 2nd Lt. Hayden Lewis, with the regiment’s Longknife Squadron; Staff Sgt. Luis Liendo, Longknife Squadron; Spc. Hayden Allen, Regimental Engineer Squadron; and Spc. Anthony Marinelli, Regimental Engineer Squadron.
Marinelli, who took down the gunman, said he heard the shots, saw the possible shooter standing out in the open, and just started heading toward him. That’s when he met up with Allen and another soldier on barracks duty and went to confront him.
“We followed him out into a field. I couldn’t see him because there were some sheds in the way, but then he started approaching the corporal who was on duty that night,” Marinelli said. “The corporal was like, ‘hey, back away from me, don’t point that at me,’ and that’s when I went around the shed.”
Marinelli said he realized the gunman had not noticed him, so he went up behind him and put him in a “full Nelson” wrestling move. Allen immediately secured the gun, which is when Liendo and Lewis, the regiment’s staff duty personnel, arrived on scene to help subdue the gunman until the military police were able to take him into custody.
Former soldier Ricardo Manuele Davila-DeJesus, 28, pleaded not guilty Feb. 12 to a federal armed assault charge after officials said he shot three .45-caliber pistol rounds at a soldier that night.
Police said that Davila-DeJesus had been inside the building with other people, when he became intoxicated and argumentative. After an argument with a soldier, Davila-DeJesus allegedly retrieved a Glock 30 firearm and fired three shots in the direction of the soldier.
On Feb. 11, detention hearing to determine bond was set to be held in U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey C. Manske’s courtroom in the federal courthouse in Waco, but winter weather caused the hearing to be reset.
Each of the soldiers awarded stated they were just doing what any other soldier would do in the same situation, but Bradley said it was soldiers such as them who make the Army the greatest on Earth.
“I think that’s the soldier mentality,” the commander said. “We often look back on things we do in the face of danger and say that we’re just doing our job ... Too often we take the modest approach as soldiers ... But in reality, they faced the danger, moved to the danger and took care of the problem to protect their team mates.
“I think it saved a lot of lives.”