Ft. Hood shooting victim begins 70 mile run for fellow victims - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Ft. Hood shooting victim begins 70 mile run for fellow victims

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A Fort Hood soldier injured during the 2009 November massacre inside the post is galvanizing support for his fellow survivors. He's doing that by running more than 70 miles to Austin.

Three years ago, Chief Warrant Officer Christopher Royal was inside the soldier readiness center at fort hood when alleged gunman Major Nidal Hasan opened fire killing 13 and injuring 32 others.

Officer Royal was one of the lucky ones.

"The gunman came in, shouted some things, started firing upon all the shoulders," said Royal.

He says his first instinct then was to get away.

"When I was running something told me to go back and as I was trying to go back he saw me for the second time and that's when he was able to fire upon me, he hit me," said Royal.

Royal was shot twice in the lower back. It caused permanent damage and until this day he has shooting pains but you would never know it. He is preparing to run 70 miles to Austin with one goal in mind.

"Right now I'm focusing on the 32 guys who were wounded on that day," said Royal. "We're brothers now we band together."

Brothers like Eric Jackson.

"I can't run with him but If I could, I'd be out there with him," said Jackson.

Many of these soldiers still deal with not only the physical but the emotional pain left from that day.

"It's just been some good days, some bad days and you make it through the best you can and it's good to know that you have somebody that's thinking about you," said Jackson.

It's why Royal founded the 32 Still Standing Foundation.

"Because of the illness of PTSD, a lot of the soldiers, they are out of work, they have anger issues, they are not able to hold down jobs right now and these guys were National Guard and Reservists.

Royal says it's those men and women who keep him going the extra mile and of course the cheering of his 4-year-old son Chris.

"Go daddy go," said Chris.

Many admired Royal's determination as they passed him on the road Thursday.

"I wondered what was going on but I couldn't read his shirt, it was something victims, but that's great," said one Central Texan.

Officer royal will finish his 70 mile run at the Texas Capitol. He's set to finish on Nov. 5 which will be the 3 year anniversary of the Fort Hood shootings.

But Royal says he has no plans to stop even after reaching Austin, not until his new family of Fort Hood survivors gets all the support they need.

"We running DC next year, we're going to run to the white house," said Royal.

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