News & Politics

Fort Hood Shootings: 12 Dead, 31 Injured On Texas Military Base (VIDEO)

Army psychiatrist suspected of massacre survived return fire from authorities and is in custody and hospitalized in stable condition.

This article will be periodically updated.

From the Washington Post:

 

An Army psychiatrist suspected of killing at least 12 people and wounding more than 30 in a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Tex., on Thursday survived return fire from authorities and is in custody and hospitalized in stable condition.

Fort Hood's commanding general said earlier Thursday that the suspect in the shooting, identified as Maj. Malik Nidal Hasan, 39, was killed when a female civilian police officer returned fire, but Thursday night he corrected himself and said that Hasan was being treated at a hospital for unspecified wounds.

"The shooter is not dead but is in custody and in stable condition," Cone said, adding, "His death is not imminent."

Hasan formerly resided in the Washington area and practiced at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in the District, where he treated traumatized war veterans.

Army spokesmen said investigators were looking into a motive for the shooting rampage. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.) said she was told that Hasan was upset about a looming deployment overseas, and a former Army colleague said Hasan opposed U.S. involvement in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

President Obama called the incident "a horrific outburst of violence."

"These are men and women who have made the selfless and courageous decision to risk and, at times, give their lives to protect the rest of us on a daily basis," Obama said. "It's difficult enough when we lose these brave Americans in battles overseas. It is horrifying that they should come under fire at an Army base on American soil."

Army officials released no information about the victims on Thursday night. Nor would Cone elaborate much about the attack or Hasan's alleged involvement, rebuffing most requests from reporters for details.

The commander said that three other soldiers were detained as suspected accomplices but were later cleared of involvement. "We believe the evidence indicates that it was a single shooter," Cone said.

Hasan is a U.S.-born Muslim of Palestinian descent whose parents came to the United States from the West Bank. He joined the military after high school and earned medical degrees as he rose through the ranks, family members said.

A doctor in the Medical Corps, Hasan was promoted to major last year, according to the Congressional Record.

Hasan, 39, is a psychiatrist, according to acquaintances of his in Washington, and a Pentagon source said he was recently reassigned from Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington to work with soldiers at Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood.

He previously lived in Montgomery County, Md., and Arlington, Va., in addition to Roanoke and nearby Vinton, Va. He graduated from Virginia Tech and earned his medical degree at Bethesda's Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, records show.

Hasan attended the Muslim Community Center in Silver Spring and was "very devout," according to Faizul Khan, a former imam at the center. Khan said Hasan attended prayers at least once a day, seven days a week, often in his Army fatigues.

Khan also said Hasan applied to an annual matrimonial seminar that matches Muslims looking for spouses. "I don't think he ever had a match, because he had too many conditions," Khan said.

"We never got into details of worldly affairs or politics," the former imam said of his conversations with Hasan. "Mostly religious questions. But there was nothing extremist in his questions. He never showed any frustration. . . . He never showed any . . . wish for vengeance on anybody."

However, a fellow Army officer who worked with Hasan told Fox News Channel that the psychiatrist had expressed strong opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"He would make comments to other individuals about how we should not be in the war in the first place," Col. Terry Lee told the network. "He made those comments, and he stuck strongly to his faith, but as soldiers we have a duty to follow orders from our commander in chief, and our political views are set aside."

U.S. counterterrorism officials said it was too early to draw conclusions about the Fort Hood incident, but one senior official said he did not believe there had been any specific warnings to military installations or similar facilities about this type of attack.

Obama was informed of the shooting shortly after it occurred, a White House spokesman said.

Located near Killeen, Tex., Fort Hood is the U.S. military's largest installation and the only Army post in the United States that houses two divisions. It is also the home of III Corps headquarters.

The 209,000-acre installation houses more than 92,000 people, according to the Fort Hood Fact Book. The total number of military personnel assigned is about 57,000, and there are 17,900 on-post family members. About 5,600 civilians and 9,500 contractors also work at Fort Hood, the fact book says.

The shooting took place as soldiers and family members were gathering for an annual college graduation ceremony, held to recognize those who were not able to participate in college commencement exercises because of deployments.

Retired Army Col. Greg Schannep, who came to Fort Hood for the ceremony, told the Temple Daily Telegram that he heard shots as he drove up, then saw a wounded soldier run past him with blood on his back.

"I heard three or four volleys of shots, with eight to 12 shots in each volley," he told the newspaper. "Initially, I thought it was a training exercise."

In a statement issued about three hours after the shooting, the Pentagon said the motive behind the shooting is under investigation by the Army's Criminal Investigation Command and the FBI.

"This is a terrible tragedy that we will know more about in the coming days," said Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh. "For now, our focus is squarely on taking care of our soldiers and their families."

The attack was the deadliest of several recent shootings at U.S. military facilities.

In a September 2008 shooting at Fort Hood, Spec. Jody Michael Wirawan, 22, of Eagle River, Ala., who was scheduled to be discharged, fatally shot 1st Lt. Robert Bartlett Fletcher, 24, of Jensen Beach, Fla. When Killeen police arrived, they fired shots at Wirawan, who responded by shooting himself, Fort Hood officials told the Associated Press.

In June, one soldier was killed and another wounded outside a Little Rock military recruiting center when a lone gunman opened fire.

Authorities said Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, who has been charged with multiple felony crimes in connection with the Little Rock attack, acted alone after converting to Islam and changing his name. He has pleaded not guilty in the case. Muhammed had traveled to Yemen before the shooting and came to the attention of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, officials. Local police said he was motivated in part by political and religious fervor.

News of Thursday's shooting reminded many of the 1991 massacre in Killeen, the city closest to the Fort Hood gates, in which a gunman shot and killed 22 people and wounded 17 at a cafeteria before using his last bullet to kill himself. The gunman, George Hennard, was armed with two 9mm semiautomatic pistols -- a Glock 17, a model favored by many law-enforcement officers, and a Ruger P89. At the time, it was the deadliest mass shooting in the United States, a grim stature that was eclipsed by the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech, in which 32 people were shot and killed.

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