REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. - For those who work at the Sparkman Center, it was a hard day. But perhaps the loved ones had the toughest time as they waited for word everyone was OK.
One woman waited all day to hear from her husband, fearing the worst.
Edith Pierre said Tuesday was an emotional roller coaster. She was waiting for her husband to call, praying he would come home safe and sound.
"I was numb. I just, I didn't know what to do," she said of the moment a family member told her there was a possible active shooter report on the installation. "The first thing I did was pick up my phone and text my husband and say, 'I heard this is going on. Are you ok? What's going on?'"
She said she only received silence in response.
"After about an hour of not hearing anything from him, I started getting really concerned. I was crying," she noted. "You expect the worst, like most people do."
Edith said images of shootings around the world swirled in her mind, and she never would have expected something like that could happen here. At the time, she feared it had. She reached out to other family members and neighbors, even WHNT News 19, for more answers about what was going on at Redstone Arsenal and the Sparkman Center.
"You're searching and listening, and nobody can give you an answer," she said, noting what little information was available during the time officials were on the scene.
Tuesday was confusing for a lot of people at Redstone Arsenal, who were wondering if the situation was a drill. One like it had been planned for Wednesday, and is now canceled. Many others were wondering if there was true danger lurking in the halls or the complex. Edith said she imagined the possibilities, knowing things can happen on federal installations like this.
"That was the hardest part, was the waiting," she acknowledged.
Around 3 PM Tuesday afternoon, Edith got the call she had been craving. It was a neighbor, who advised her her husband was home safely.
"She said, 'Your husband is home. He's sitting on the front porch,'" Edith said. "I just can't explain the feeling. It was amazing."
She said she came home and gave her husband a big hug.
"I was just happy to have him home and safe, and my arms around him," she described. "I'm just really thankful that he was ok, and it wasn't as bad as it could be. It could have been worse. It could have been."
As Edith prepares to send her husband back off to work Wednesday, she knows it will be hard to let him go. She knows she has to.
"I'm not going to not worry about him," she said. "I told him from here on out, he better have his keys and his phone at all times!"
WHNT News 19 has been told the arsenal gates will operate as usual Wednesday, and other employees have said they are not afraid to return to work. They know they can fall back on their training to get them through other events in the future.
Family members know they can sleep well tonight, now their loved ones are home safely.