FORT HOOD, Texas (WIVB) – A Western New York native who is now a Major in the U.S. Army was one of 16 people injured in a shooting at Fort Hood in Texas on Wednesday that left four people dead, including the gunman.
Family members tells News 4 that 32-year-old Patrick Miller, a two-time combat veteran, was injured in the shooting at the U.S. post. His uncle told News 4 he survived surgery Wednesday night.
Friends at a vigil Thursday night at Allegany Baptist Church tell News 4 that Major Miller underwent a second surgery on Thursday and was shot once in the abdomen. He is said to be in stable condition.
Miller is a 1999 graduate of Allegany-Limestone High School. He currently lives with his wife, Ashley, outside Austin, Texas.
His former coach, Mike Wilber says this is a national tragedy that really hits home.
“For a small town like Allegany. It’s a very tight-knit community. So when it does hit home it has a ripple effect throughout everybody and everybody here is just pulling for him,” Wilber said.
Allegany-Limestone School District Superintendent Dr. Karen Geelan added, “Whenever these kinds of tragic events occur it concerns all of us, but when we learn one of our own is involved it deeply affects us. We are a close-knit community and truly care about each other. Our best wishes go out to Pat and his family.”
Miller was the captain of football and track and field teams. Wilber says if you knew him, you’d understand why he’s a major in the military, describing him as a “leader” and “someone you could always count on.”
“I’m not really surprised that he’s doing what he’s doing, because of his work ethic and his character,” Wilber said.
Miller attended St. Bonaventure University, where he majored in physical education and science before graduating in 2003. St. Bonaventure University President, Sister Margaret Carney, remembers Miller because he bagged groceries where she shopped.
“We, of course, are most deeply concerned for his survival and well being and the help of his family,” she said.
While in college, he was in the ROTC under Lt. Col. Al Zehnder. After graduating, Miller joined the Army.
“He was a strong cadet in a good year of the program. He was a leader in his class and more mature than his years would’ve suggested,” Lt. Col Zehnder said.
Miller later attended Syracuse University, where he graduated in 2009 with masters’ degrees in business and public administration.
After the shooting, Miller’s mother, Carole, went on Twitter and sent a tweet to Jill Kelly. It says: “Please say prayers for my son @RuffBuff81 who was shot at Fort Hood tonight.”
Ever since, word spread rapidly on social media that Miller was among those injured. Family, friends and complete strangers offering up their prayers, thoughts and best wishes that he pulls through and makes a speedy recovery.