Death at Fairchild Air Force Base
June 20, 1994
Fairchild Air Force Base Hospital>>>
Miimii was driving to the base from our base house, which was just outside the back gate. As she passed the base hospital, about 400 feet from our house, she noticed people running across the road with little to no regard for oncoming traffic. She negotiated the people and drove on, thinking it was a little strange.
Back Gate of Fairchild Air Force Base>>>
She arrived at the base gate and realized she'd forgotten her identification she needed to get on base. She tried to go back to get it but the gate guard held her at the gate and wouldn't let her go. As she stood there, she heard frantic reports coming from the police radio. Suddenly a large group of people came running towards the gate, and a lady, a total stranger, ran to Miimii and, hugging her tightly said,"I just saw my boss shot, and I think he's dead". She stood there holding Miimii, crying.
Mental Health Clinic>>>
Dean Mellberg, a recently discharged Airman at Fairchild Air Force base, had walked in to the Mental Health clinic at the base hospital (a clinic Miimii and I frequented) with a Mak-90 (a version of the AK-47) rifle. He spoke to our marriage counselor, 31 year-old Thomas Brigham, and then shot him to death. He then went on a shooting spree through the hospital, shooting 23 people, and killing five (including an 8 year old girl).
Last Victim>>>
Among the victims were Deena Kelley, the wife of Shaun Kelley, my friend and close co-worker, who had just given birth to her first child. Deena survived. Melberg's last victim was shot here as she lay on the ground, hiding from Mellberg.
A base policeman, hearing the calls on his radio, rode his bicycle from his house to the scene of the crime and, from 200 feet away, shot Mellberg between the eyes with a 9-mm pistol, killing him.
Neighborhood Patrol>>>
Miimii and I couldn't go home for hours. Initially it was thought there were many gunmen, so our housing area, just a hundred feet from the hospital, was sealed off. Miimii called me from the gate, so I picked her up and drove her to my office while we waited to see what had happened. She had left our back door unlocked and was worried about Lunch and Moo, and what would happen to them if there were gunmen running around the neighborhood. She sat in our break room crying as we watched reports coming over the television. We then went to the base recreation center and spoke to police and counselors.
We were finally allowed to go home, but helicopters were flying around the house for hours with wounded, driving Lunch and Moo crazy. I'm sure if we'd let Lunch play in the back yard she would have caught herself one.
There'd been a fatal automobile accident just a few weeks earlier, outside the main gate, a half mile from our house. It was creepy, but this was much, much worse. We knew these people.
Our Back Yard>>> After the shooting, a flower garden was set up in front of the hospital to remember the dead. I wrote a heart-felt letter to the widow of Thomas Brigham, our marriage counselor. In 1993, when I was a swimmer, I'd see him at the base pool. He was on the base swim team. It was very strange to think he was gone. Miimii read my letter and said it was too sad and wouldn't let me send it. I was already in tears from writing the letter, we argued, and I just said ,"Forget it!" So much for sincerity. I hid in the bathroom for a while so she wouldn't see me cry and then I came out and all was well. I had conformed.

To the day we left, Miimii wasn't too hot on taking our usual nightly walks, because we had to pass the bullet-chipped parking lot and see the flowers to get out of our housing area.

June 20, 1994

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