LITTLE ROCK – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) will attend the Purple Heart ceremony honoring Privates William Long and Quinton Ezeagwula. Private William Long of Conway was killed and Private Quinton Ezeagwula of Jacksonville was wounded when a terrorist opened fire outside of a Little Rock Army recruiting center in 2009.
Boozman joined Little Rock news outlets this morning to talk about the legislative efforts he pursued to accomplish this recognition.
The Army’s determination was the result of a provision Boozman helped introduce to the FY2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) [Public Law 113-291] which authorizes the award of Purple Heart to service members killed or wounded in an attack that specifically targets a service member because of their status as a member of the nation’s Armed Forces or is carried out by a foreign terrorist organization.
That provision, Section 571 of the FY 2015 NDAA, clarifies that an attack carried out by an individual will be considered an attack by a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) if the individual or entity was in communication with a FTO before the attack, and if the attack was inspired or motivated by a FTO.
Actions and statements by Abdulhakim Muhammad, the man who pled guilty to charges of capital murder and attempted capital murder for the shooting at a Little Rock military recruiting station, met these criteria.
In a December 2014 letter, Boozman, Sen. Tom Cotton and former Second District Representative Tim Griffin urged Secretary of the Army John McHugh to award the Purple Heart to Private Ezeagwula and the family of Private Long. Making the case that the criteria had been met.