Thirteen are dead and 30 wounded after a gunman opened fire on Texas' Fort Hood military base. Follow the breaking details about the event, victims, the suspected shooter—an Army major and medical professional—and military and government responses.
The Shooting: At Least 13 Killed, 30 Wounded, Suspect in Stable Condition
At least 13 people were killed and 30 wounded at a shooting at Ford Hood in Texas on Thursday afternoon. The gunman, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, 39, carried two weapons (one of them semi-automatic) and is a licensed psychiatrist. The base commander says he shouted "Allahu Akbar!" before starting the shooting rampage, Arabic for "God is great." The casualties took place at a Soldier Readiness Center, where soldiers who are preparing to deploy or recently returned undergo medical screening; during the attack, a graduation ceremony was taking place for soldiers who finished college courses while deployed.
Though initial reports indicated Hasan was killed, Army officials said he was alive and hospitalized after being shot four times by a female first responder, Police Officer Kimberly Munley, who is injured. He's in stable condition but unconscious and on a respirator. (The female responder was also reported dead, but was revealed later in the day to have survived.) Earlier, two other suspects, also soldiers, were apprehended, but were released; the Army has concluded Hasan acted alone. According to Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, the shooter was scheduled to be deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan and was unhappy about it. Hutchison said he targeted people he knew. The shootings took place at 1:30 Central Time. Fort Hood, which sprawls across more than 200,000 acres, was on lockdown for five and a half hours Thursday night.
Click Below to View Photos from the Fort Hood Shooting
The Suspect: Major Malik Nadal Hasan
Nidal Malik Hasan ( pictured here) is an Army psychiatrist who was recently reassigned from Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.—where he treated soldiers returning from war with combat stress and post-traumatic stress disorder, and listened to their horrifying stories—to work with soldiers at Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood. Hasan, 39, reportedly drew the attention of federal law enforcement six months ago for online posts about suicide bombings and other threats (including a blog post that equated "suicide bombers with a soldier throwing himself on a grenade to save the lives of his comrades"). He had no previous overseas deployments. He told relatives he was souring on military service as some of his comrades made of him for being Muslim, reports the New York Times.
Hasan's parents were immigrants from a small Palestinian town near Jerusalem, but Hasan was born in Virginia, and right out of high school joined the Army, which put him through college and medical school. His aunt told The Washington Post that her nephew tried to get out of his Army contract but couldn't. She says he felt harassed because of his Muslim faith. An imam who once led Hasan's mosque in Silver Spring, Maryland, said Hasan was quiet, did not talk about politics, and didn't seem radical. They mostly talked about Hasan wanting a wife.
Hasan was facing a deployment, which his cousin Nader Hasan describes as "his worst nightmare." Nader says his cousin was dealing with harassment from his colleagues and had hired a military attorney to help him. "We are shocked. We just found out on the news that he was being deployed," Nader Hasan told Fox News. One of Hasan's military co-workers told Fox News' Shepard Smith that the major was "aggressive" and cited religious callings as a Muslim, and Smith read accounts of racially charged harassment that Hasan allegedly underwent. Watch both interviews below.
Voices from the Base
- Sirens wailed at the base as Tammy Biggers, wife of an Army specialist deployed in Iraq, huddled in her locked house, texting her daughter at the local high school and fielding phone calls from family and friends. “It’s just nerve-wracking,” Biggers said in a telephone interview with USA Today. “They just did the overhead warnings again for everyone to seek shelter immediately. It’s going off right now.” [via The Marine Corps Times]
- About a mile from Fort Hood’s east gate, Cynthia Thomas, director of Under the Hood Cafe, a local coffee shop and nonprofit military support center, has been calling soldiers and friends on the post to make sure they’re OK. “It’s chaotic,” Thomas said, as a SWAT team just drove by. “They’re just saying that they’re under attack they don’t know what’s going on. ... The phones are jammed. Everybody is calling family members and friends. Soldiers are running around with M-16s.” [via Stars and Stripes]
Lt. Gen. Robert Cone Reveals Hasan Is Alive
Obama Laments 'Horrific Violent Outburst'
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison Addresses the Shooting
Fort Hood's History of Military-on-Military Violence
Thursday's mass shooting was not the first violent event Fort Hood has suffered. Fox News reports the following violent incidents:
- In September 2008, a 21-year-old Fort Hood soldier fatally shot his lieutenant, and then himself, during an off-base confrontation in his apartment. Fox News continues:
- "Two months later a New York parolee with an extensive criminal record was executed for robbing, raping and fatally shooting an Army medic at her apartment near Fort Hood."
- "In July of 2009, Fort Hood Spc. Armano Baca was charged with murdering fellow soldier Spc. Ryan Richard Schlack from Wisconsin." Baca and Schlock had recently returned from tours in Iraq.
- "Three months ago Spc. Jared Lee Bottorff was charged with murder after a shooting at a party near the post."