First Lt. Cheri Bright
HARKER HEIGHTS (June 19, 2013)--U.S. Army 1st Lt. Cheri Bright isn’t afraid to leave her home, but she’s terrified to go on-post at Fort Hood.
She calls it a fear that she never thought she would experience.
“We’re soldiers, we keep America safe, and that’s our job,” Bright said.
“You wouldn’t think anything bad would happen to anyone while they were on-post.”
The 33-year-old mother of three arrived in Killeen in September 2012 after serving in South Korea, she chose to live on-post and looked forward to the safety Fort Hood had to offer.
“I chose to live in a house there because it’s supposed to be safe,” Bright said.
But Bright’s expectations of living at Fort Hood quickly became a nightmare in December of last year, when someone broke into her home while she was there alone.
“I heard a noise, looked outside my room, and saw a man coming up my stairs in the same PT uniform I put on every morning,” Bright said.
Bright says she was then thrown to the floor and raped.
“I remember telling him I had children, to ‘please stop,’” Bright said.
“While I was crawling up my stairs, I just thought about my kids, and that I have to get to the phone."
By the time Bright called police, her attacker had fled. Military investigators then combed through the crime scene.
Bright says they collected a footprint, DNA, discovered what the attacker was driving, and currently have a suspect in mind.
However, nearly six months after the assault, no arrests have been made.
Bright moved off-post and now lives in fear, wondering if her attacker is still on-post every time she reports to Fort Hood.
“Just the thought of being around other soldiers not knowing who my attacker is causes frustration,” Bright said.
“I’ll have nightmares and see that PT uniform from the night everything happened.”
Officials at Fort Hood say Bright’s case is still being investigated, but with the evidence Bright says they have, she wonders why more isn’t being done.
“I want to be able to sleep at night, I want to be able to go to Fort Hood and not be scared to death,” Bright said.
“I just want to live my life outside of fear.”