Civilian Police Officer Stopped Rampage at Fort Hood, Army Base Commander Says
FORT HOOD, Texas – The Commander-in-Chief of Fort Hood gives a civilian police officer credit for stopping the shooting that killed 13 people at the Texas post.
Lt. Gen. Bob Cone said Friday morning that Fort Hood Police Sgt. Kimberly Munley and her partner responded within three minutes of the gunfire reported Thursday afternoon. Cone said Munley shot the shooter four times after she herself was shot. Military officials said Munley was in stable condition on Friday.
Cone said: “It was an incredible and aggressive performance from this police officer.”
Cone also said he was inspired by a woman who helped carry an injured victim and used her blouse as a tourniquet, then later realized she had been shot in the hip.
The suspected shooter, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, is hospitalized on a ventilator.
Soldiers who witnessed the shooting reported that the gunman shouted âAllahu Akbar! before opening fire, the base commander said on Friday. Cone said authorities have yet to confirm that the suspected shooter, Hasan, made the comment, which in Arabic means “God is great!” before Thursday’s outburst, which left 30 injured, including the shooter.
Officials do not rule out the possibility that some of the victims were victims of “friendly fire”, that in the chaos and confusion at the scene of the shooting, some of the military officials who responded may have shot some of the victims.
The gunfire erupted around 1:30 p.m. at the Soldier Readiness Center, where soldiers who are about to be deployed or returning are undergoing a medical examination. Nearby, soldiers were preparing to attend a graduation ceremony for troops and families who had recently graduated.
Video from the scene showed police officers patrolling the area with handguns and rifles, hiding behind buildings for safety. Sirens could be heard blaring as a female voice over a public address system urged people to take cover. Schools on the base were closed and family members trying to find out what was going on inside found cell phone lines blocked or busy.
âI was confused and just shocked,â said Spc. Jerry Richard, 27, who works at the center but was off duty during filming. âAbroad, you are ready for it. But here you can’t even defend yourself.
The injured were dispersed to hospitals in central Texas, Cone said. Their identities and those of the dead were not immediately disclosed.
The bodies of the victims would be taken to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware for autopsies and forensic testing, said a US official who requested anonymity to discuss the matters under investigation.
There will also be a ceremony at the air base to honor the dead.
The shooting suspect has a troubled past
Hasan’s name appears in radical Internet posts. A fellow officer says he fought his deployment to Iraq and quarreled with soldiers who supported American wars. He needed counseling as a medical student due to issues with patients.
There are many unknowns about Nidal Malik Hasan, the man who authorities say is responsible for the worst massacre at a US military base. Above all, its motive. But the details of his life and state of mind, taken from official sources and personal acquaintances, are troubling.
For six years before reporting for duty at Fort Hood, Texas in July, the 39-year-old Army Maj. Worked at Walter Reed Army Medical Center continuing his career in psychiatry, as an intern, resident and, last year, a researcher in disaster and preventive psychiatry. He received his medical degree from the Military Uniform Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, in 2001.
While an intern at Walter Reed, Hasan had some “difficulties” that required additional guidance and supervision, said Dr Thomas Grieger, who was then director of training.
Grieger said privacy laws prevent him from going into details, but noted that the issues were related to Hasan’s interactions with patients. He remembered Hasan as a “mostly very calm” person who never spoke badly about the military or his country. âHe took an oath of loyalty to the military,â Grieger said. “I have not heard of anything contrary to these oaths.”
But, more recently, federal agents have grown suspicious. At least six months ago, Hasan came to the attention of law enforcement because of internet posts about suicide bombings and other threats, including posts that equated suicide bombers with soldiers pouncing on a grenade to save the lives of their comrades.
They had not determined for sure whether Hasan was the author of the post, and no formal investigation had been opened before the shooting, said law enforcement officials who requested anonymity because they did not. are not allowed to discuss the matter.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Hasan’s aunt, Noel Hasan of Falls Church, Virginia, said he was harassed because he was a Muslim in the years following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and that ‘he wanted to quit the army. âSome people can take it and some cannot,â she said. “He had listened to all of this and he wanted to quit the army.”
She said he had sought release from the military for several years and even offered to reimburse the cost of his medical training.
A military official told The Associated Press that Hasan is in the process of preparing for the deployment, which can take months. The official said Hasan had indicated that he did not want to go to Iraq but was ready to serve in Afghanistan. The official was not permitted to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
A second military official said Hasan’s family had Palestinian roots. There have been reports that he has been harassed for his Muslim religion, but the official says there is no indication that Hasan has filed a complaint with the military about it.
Terrorism Task Force agents plan to interview several relatives of Hasan on Friday, according to a law enforcement official who requested anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss the case.
Noel Hasan said his nephew “hadn’t made many friends” and would say “the military was his life”.
A cousin, Nader Hasan, told the New York Times that after counseling soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with post-traumatic stress disorder, Hasan experienced the war firsthand. “He was mortified at the thought of having to deploy,” Nader Hasan said. “He had people telling him daily about the horrors they saw there.”
Federal law enforcement officers ordered the evacuation of the apartment complex where Hasan lived in Killeen, Texas, on Thursday night and conducted a search of his home, said Hilary Shine, director of the public information of the city. She did not say what was found during the search.
Officials said earlier that federal search warrants were being drafted to authorize the seizure of his computer.
Retired Army Col. Terry Lee, who said he worked with Hasan, told Fox News Hasan had hoped President Barack Obama would withdraw his troops from Afghanistan and Iraq. Lee said Hasan often argued with other servicemen who supported wars and went to great lengths to prevent his impending deployment.
Hasan regularly attended prayers when he lived outside Washington, often in his army uniform, said Faizul Khan, a former imam at a mosque he attended in Silver Spring, Md. He said Hasan was a longtime Muslim. âI felt like he was a committed soldier,â Khan said. He often spoke with Hasan about Hasan’s desire for a wife.
There was no evidence that Hasan was radical or extremist, Khan said. âWe hardly ever discussed politics,â Khan said. “Most of the time we were discussing religious issues, nothing too controversial, nothing like an extremist.”
Hasan received his rank of major in April 2008, according to a July 2008 Army Times article. He served eight years as an enlisted soldier. He also served in the ROTC as an undergraduate student at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. There he obtained a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry in 1997.