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Two Victims of Fort Hood Shootings from Tampa Bay Area

Two of the victims of Wednesday's mass shooting at the Fort Hood military base in Texas apparently came from the Tampa Bay area.

Various news outlets are reporting that Sgt. Danny Ferguson is a graduate of Mulberry High School in Polk County. The other victim is Carlos Lazaney, whose family lives in Tampa.

WFLA-TV is reporting that Ferguson, 39, was originally from Mulberry and a 1993 graduate of Mulberry High School.

Sgt. Danny Ferguson, 39, was originally from Mulberry and a 1993 graduate of Mulberry High School. His family confirms he was killed in this week's shooting at Fort Hood. A teacher at Mulberry High School tells News Channel 8's Jeff Patterson that Ferguson was a good athlete who played several sports and was especially good at football. The teacher says Ferguson died a hero because he held a door shut to prevent the gunman from getting to others.  A statement was read  to Mulberry High School students regarding his death, followed by a moment of silence for Ferguson and the other victims, reading: "Many of you are aware of the senseless tragedy of the Ft. Hood shooting in Texas this week. It was confirmed late last night that one of the victims is Sgt. First Class Daniel Ferguson. Danny Ferguson is a 1993 graduate of MHS. Many of our teachers may have taught him and several of our teachers attended school here with him. "Danny made the military his career...he did several tours abroad fighting for freedom and this past week at Ft. Hood he is being called a hero...because it was he who stood to block the gunman from entering a crowded room where he would have killed many more people."

Ferguson, a native of Mulberry, Fla., who had just returned from Afghanistan, died while trying to keep the shooter out of the room, Kristen Haley, also a soldier, tells WTSP-TV.

"He held that door shut because it wouldn't lock," Haley, who was nearby when the shooting broke out, tells 10 News, the Tampa TV station. "It seems the doors would be bullet proof, but apparently they're not, If he wasn't the one standing there holding those doors closed, that shooter would have been able to get through and shoot everyone else."

The other victim, Lezany, is originally from Puerto Rico and moved with his family to Tampa.

Here's an account from the Puerto Rican newspaper ElNuevoDia.com:

The soldier’s aunt, Bernardina Lassarinni , confirmed this morning his family in Tampa, Florida received the news of the murder of Carlos Lazaney. "The dad is very ill and has not been able to give him the news," she said in a telephone interview with this newspaper. Lazaney was one of three victims of a shooting in which the shooter was also a Puerto Rican soldier, Iván López. Lassarinni said his nephew, 38, joined the military at age 18 . His immediate family, his parents and three brothers live in Tampa, Florida where they waited for more news "They are very affected," said the woman. Aguadilla Mayor Carlos Mendez, was the first to warn that one of the dead at the military base was from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. Mendez said Lazaney’s aunt, who he did not identify, had contacted him to let him know of the fateful news. " He is a person of the district Villa Joy, but I think the family came and went from the U.S. to Puerto Rico . They're good people  I know them , "said the mayor. He said they “are a very good family” and with roots in the town of Aguadilla.  

Army officials at Fort Hood said the soldier, Specialist Ivan Antonio Lopez, 34, opened fire with a .45-caliber handgun, killing three and injuring 16 others. He apparently had a dispute with his superiors over their denial of a leave request shortly before the shooting rampage.

Lopez, 34, capped the rampage by killing himself. He was being evaluated for posttraumatic stress disorder at the time.


Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.
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