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Military Wife Hopes for the Impossible After Shooting

On April 2, 2014, shots rang out on the base of Fort Hood. Less than an hour later, Angel got a knock at her door—it was her husband's Captain, and she knew life would never be the same. Read Transcript



ANGEL ARROYO: My friend calls me,

and she said, did you know there was a shooting?

And I was like, oh my gosh.

Don't tell me John was shot.

30 minutes later, his captain shows up at the door.

I went numb.

And he's on the other side, knocking and knocking.

And I'm shaking my head no, because I

don't want to hear it.

And he's, open the door.

Open the door.

He's alive.

NARRATOR: Angel's husband, platoon leader John Arroyo,

was rushed to Darnall Army Medical

Center, where two surgeons immediately began

operating to save his life.

They soon discovered that a 45-caliber bullet

had severed John's jugular vein and lodged deep

within the nerves of his right shoulder.

One of the physicians was EMT Dr. Alex McKinlay.

Close proximity gunshot wound to the neck with an expanding

hematoma is a grave prognosis.

We knew that it was go time.

We made an incision over the area

to try to control the bleeding.

Once we stopped that, we exhaled a bit.

But there was still bright red bleeding,

and so there was additional injuries.

We looked, and we knew that the bullet had gone through his

what's called voicebox, the area where your Adam's

apple essentially is in your vocal cords,

and shattered his thyroid cartilage.

And we knew that there was probably

some significant damage to that area of his neck.

NARRATOR: To help John breathe, doctors

inserted a tracheostomy tube in his neck.

Then, Angel was finally able to see him.

ANGEL ARROYO: They took me back there.

It was not my husband.

His head was bigger than a basketball.

And his tongue was sticking out.

It wouldn't even go back in.

I just kept praying that everything would be OK.

NARRATOR: The following day, John

was placed in a medically-induced coma

and transferred to Scott and White Memorial Hospital

for additional care.

There, doctors told Angel their prognosis for John.

ALEX MCKINLAY: At that time, we knew,

A, he had lost a lot of blood, B,

that his voice was probably going to be different

because of the amount of injury that was sustained in the voice

box, and we didn't know if his voice would ever

be normal again.

And then C, his arm and the movement of his arm

based on where that bullet went, we

had no idea if that was going to come back either.

ANGEL ARROYO: And they said,he won't be able to talk

because he's in a medical coma.

So he's got to stay asleep until Saturday.

And so I went beside him, and I grabbed his hand.

And I was telling him I love him, and he woke up.

JOHN ARROYO: When I first see my wife, I tried to sit up,

and I tried to talk to her.

I just wanted her to know that I was going to be OK.

I told her father before he passed

that I would take care of her.

And it means everything.

I couldn't speak, and I was writing on a white board.

ANGEL ARROYO: He was on medicine.

He wouldn't be spelling right.

Like, "I love you" would be I-H-A-- just crazy.

I didn't know I could love him as much as I do.

ALEX MCKINLAY: Two days after the operation, when I first

saw him, he was doing his best to speak.

And he put his finger on his tracheostomy tube.

He had an intelligible voice, which

is very unusual in this kind of situation.

We knew right away that he was a fighter.

And we knew that faith was a big part of who he was,

and that he believed 100% that God was behind him,

and that he was going to get through his injuries.

NARRATOR: As John slowly recovered his voice,

he began sharing what happened that day.


we have an active shooter currently on Fort Hood.

Just be advised, they're saying that the vehicle

was a dark Toyota Camry.

JOHN ARROYO: I've been in combat several times.

Being a Green Beret, you just know.

You just know what shots fired sound like.

And as I was looking where the shots were fired,

a vehicle pulls up.

The next shot I heard, I was hit.


NARRATOR: John had just parked his car

outside the First Medical Brigade, when a 45-caliber slug

ripped through his throat.

JOHN ARROYO: I see someone walking towards me

at the distance.

The individual gets close to me, within 10 feet,

and I realize that it's the shooter.

Jesus help.

That's the only thing I could try to muster, was Jesus help.

Probably the simplest prayer I ever prayed.

But it was the most profound, because he

stopped, looked around, and then walked into a building.

I was just paralyzed.

I couldn't believe it.

I couldn't believe that he didn't see me.

It was God.

God sheltered me.


FEMALE VOICE (RADIO): 3300 block of 72nd.

We have multiple gunshot victims.

Also have some that are escaping through windows.

NARRATOR: Eight minutes after the first shot,

three medics came running to the scene.

Gripping his throat, John called out to warn them.

I yelled back to them from across the parking lot,

no, I've been shot.

There's a shooter.

REPORTER: Army Specialist Ivan Lopez

opened fire, killing three people and wounding 16 others.

NARRATOR: Confronted by military police in a parking lot,

he then turned the gun on himself.

REPORTER: They believed Specialist Ivan

Lopez had an argument with a fellow soldier

before the shooting.

REPORTER: The suspect had been evaluated

for post-traumatic stress disorder,

and was receiving treatment for depression and anxiety.

NARRATOR: In just a few weeks, John fully regained his voice,

and was eventually transferred to Brooke Army Medical

Center, where he continues to receive for his right arm.

Last year, John was awarded the Soldier's Medal for heroism

above and beyond the call of duty,

for Warning others on the day of the shooting.

And today, he serves as an aide to a two star general

at Fort Sam Houston.

ALEX MCKINLAY: When everything was said and done,

and I look at the sequence of events between where John was

shot, the timing of how quickly he was taken from the location

to the hospital, and then being rushed right to the operating

room with two surgeons who were ready to go,

being able to stop that bleeding--

all of that in such a short period of time,

I think it's nothing short of a miracle.

ANGEL ARROYO: I don't believe in luck.

It's Christ.

It's God.

And I can't explain it any better than that.

JOHN ARROYO: At the end of the day,

I shouldn't never even be here.

They said I would have a trach in my neck for a minimum of six


It was out two months.

They said we don't know if you'll ever talk again.

I'm talking to you right now.

They said that we don't know what's going on what your arm.

My arm moves today.

There's no limits when it comes to God.

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