Military officials credit civilian police officer for ending the rampage at Fort Hood
FORT HOOD, Texas – Sergeant Kimberly Munley, a civilian police officer, was picking up his vehicle for repairs on Thursday when the murder began.
Inside the soldier readiness facility at this army post, Major Nidal M. Hasan opened fire with two pistols, one of which was semi-automatic, officials said. The shots were continuous, methodical and well directed. Unarmed soldiers awaiting medical appointments dispersed or fell to the ground.
Hasan, an army psychiatrist, shouted âAllahu Akhbar!
Munley, 34 and trained in the tactics developed in the wake of the Columbine Massacre, rushed to the gunfire. She arrived at 1:27 p.m., about four minutes after the first 911 call, as Hasan fled the building, according to official accounts.
Munley took a turn and shot Hasan twice. He fired back and charged her, according to the accounts. Munley fell to the ground in a protective position and continued to fire.
At one point, Hasan started fumbling with his gun. “He’s charging,” someone shouted, according to an officer at the scene.
During the exchange, Munley was shot in both thighs and a wrist. Hasan received four bullets.
Hasan, 39, is hospitalized and remained on a ventilator yesterday. He is suspected of having acted alone in a carnage that left 13 dead and at least 30 injured.
Investigators were looking for a motive yesterday, but relatives said Hasan was unhappy with his upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.
According to some accounts, other police officers could also have shot Hasan. Army officials, however, said credit for the shooter’s arrest lay mainly with Munley, who remained in hospital yesterday in stable condition.
Her actions quickly made her a hero to colleagues and foreigners alike, as online discussion groups, police union officials and others praised her decisive role in the slaughter of the suspected gunman.
âShe walked over and hired him,â Cone said. “It was an incredible and aggressive performance from this policeman.”
When the firing stopped, Hasan was executed and laid on the ground in front of the center with some of the other seriously injured soldiers.
Medics removed his camouflage top and began treating his injuries, said Sergeant Andrew Hagerman, a military police soldier at the scene. Hasan and three other seriously injured soldiers were transported by helicopter to Scott & White Hospital in Temple, Texas.
The soldiers loaded other victims, several times shot, into cars and rushed them to Darnall Army Medical Center, about a mile away, witnesses said.
” It was very moving. They were transporting their injured buddies to the emergency room, ” said Janet DiPalma, a nurse at the facility.
In Darnell, some troops ripped off their camouflage tops and turned T-shirts into makeshift bandages and tourniquets, said Sergeant Howard Appleby, who had gone to the hospital to meet with a psychiatrist for post-traumatic stress disorder and quickly found himself helping the injured.
Several of the wounded soldiers were lying on their stretchers and praying. Others asked for cell phones to call relatives to let them know they were injured.
“There was a lot of gunfire,” said Institutional medic Major Stephen Beckwith. âIt was hard to imagine that one person did all this filming. “
Most of the injured had been shot two or three in the chest, stomach or neck, said Major Stephen Beckwith, a doctor at the facility, who, like many others at the hospital, said he suffered injuries. Similar massive losses while serving in Iraq.
âI was in Iraq for 15 months. When you are in Iraq, you are ready for this to happen, ” he said.
Cone called Munley “one of our most impressive young police officers” and said she reacted to the shooting as she was trained to do.
âIf you act aggressively to take out a shooter, you will have fewer deaths,â Cone said.
No one opened the door at Munley’s yesterday.
Neighbor Brooke Beato said Munley was passionate about her job and was not surprised to learn of her heroic actions.
âThere should be a parade for her right up to her front door,â Beato said. âThere could have been a lot more lives lost. It could have been someone else there first, someone not so well trained, not so brave. ”
Another resident, Amanda Maben, expressed a similar sentiment. “She’s a heroine and she’s my neighbor,” she said.
Also yesterday, more than a dozen Facebook groups popped up to support Munley. âSergeant. Kimberly Munley: A Real American Hero! ” Had 560 members by late afternoon.
Â© Copyright 2009 Globe Newspaper Company.