Body of slain Fort Hood soldier arrives in Missouri

A member of the Rolla Police Department salutes as a hearse carrying the body of Army Sgt. Timothy Owens pulls up to Long-Kloeppel Funeral Home escorted by a procession of Patriot Guard Riders and others, Friday, April 11, 2014, in Dixon, Mo. Owens was one of three soldiers killed during the recent shooting at Fort Hood, Texas. Owens' funeral is scheduled for Saturday morning in Rolla, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

DIXON, Mo. (AP) — The body of an Army sergeant killed in last week’s mass shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, arrived Friday in a small southern Missouri town after a solemn procession from St. Louis.

Highway Patrol officers and nearly 100 Patriot Guard motorcycle riders escorted the hearse bearing the body of 37-year-old Sgt. Timothy Owens from Lambert Airport onto Interstate 44 and then along winding Ozarks roads to a funeral home in the town of Dixon.

Patriot Guard members shielded the hearse with American flags beneath the funeral home’s carport as Owens’ casket was removed. About 20 townspeople stood silently nearby, then applauded softly as the casket was taken indoors.

Owens, of Effingham, Ill., attended high school in the neighboring town of Rolla and met his wife there. His funeral will be held Saturday morning at Rolla’s First Baptist Church, followed by burial with full military honors in Lake Springs Cemetery.

Owens was among three soldiers killed April 2 when another soldier opened fire on the Texas post. The gunman also wounded 16 people before committing suicide.

The gunman was identified as Spc. Ivan Antonio Lopez. A wake was held Friday for Lopez in Puerto Rico, where a family spokesman said his body was to be buried Saturday in his hometown of Guayanilla.

Owens enlisted in the Army in June 2004 as a motor transport operator and did part of his training at southern Missouri’s Fort Leonard Wood. He was most recently in the 154th Transportation Company in the 49th Movement Control Battalion in the 13th Sustainment Command at Fort Hood. Owens was deployed to Iraq from January to December 2005. Later he served in Kuwait from January to December 2010.

In Rolla, volunteers organized by the Patriot Guard were planting hundreds of flags Friday along the route Owens’ body will travel to the church.

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