Boozman, Cotton, Hill Announce Little Rock Recruitment Center Shooting Victims Will Receive Purple Heart
Apr 16 2015
WASHINGTON –U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton, along with Second District Representative French Hill, today announced that the Army has determined that two servicemembers attacked outside of a Little Rock Army recruiting center in 2009 will be awarded the Purple Heart.
Private William Long of Conway was killed and Private Quinton Ezeagwula of Jacksonville was wounded when a terrorist opened fire on the recruiting center on June 1, 2009.
“I am pleased that Private Long and Private Ezeagwula will receive the Purple Heart they rightfully deserve. They were targeted for the service, devotion and dedication to our country in a war where the frontlines against terrorism extend within our nation. Awarding Privates Long and Ezeagwula the Purple Heart for their service and sacrifice is simply the right thing to do,” Boozman said.
“The Army’s decision to award the Purple Heart to the victims of the Little Rock Recruiting Center attack is long overdue,” said Cotton. “I am pleased these two young men will finally get the recognition they deserve. The war on terror is a global war—our enemies know no boundaries. Private William Long and Private Quinton Ezeagwula and their fellow soldiers who put their lives on the line to protect us from these enemies are all heroes—no matter the front on which they fight.”
“The Army’s announcement today to award the Purple Heart to Privates Long and Ezeagwula concludes a nearly six year pursuit of justice and recognition for the families and victims of the 2009 terrorist attack at the Little Rock military recruiting station. This announcement is long overdue and finally gives these brave men the heroic level of recognition they deserve. I am truly appreciative of the efforts of our entire Congressional delegation who worked hard to make this happen; especially my predecessor in Congress and our current Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin whose tireless efforts ensured the sacrifice of these young men was fully recognized and honored ,” Hill said.
The Army’s determination was the result of a provision—written by Boozman—in the FY2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) [Public Law 113-291] which authorizes the award of Purple Heart to servicemembers killed or wounded in an attack that specifically targets a servicemember 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, 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, Boozman, Cotton and Griffin wrote: “Throughout his (2011) trial, Muhammad repeatedly admitted that he was a soldier in the cause of war—or jihad—against the United States and that he targeted Privates William Andrew Long and Quinton Ezeagwula because they wore the uniform of the U.S. Army. Additionally, in 2007, Muhammad traveled to Yemen where, as he admitted, he consorted with known members of Al Qaeda including discussing attacks on American military personnel.”