Army searches for answers to Fort Hood massacre - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Army searches for answers to Fort Hood massacre

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Major Nidal Malik Hasan (Source: CNN) Major Nidal Malik Hasan (Source: CNN)

compiled from A. P., CNN, and NBC News reports

Fort Hood, Texas -  Piecing together details of Thursday's deadly shooting at Fort Hood, Texas is a daunting task for investigators.

Video from the Department of Defense shows soldiers being brought in Thursday afternoon to add a layer of security to the scene where now 13 people have died.

Overnight another person died from injuries suffered when lone gunman, Major Nidal Malik Hasan opened fire on the post.

At least thirty people were wounded. The gunman remains on a ventilator and unconscious, so investigators have not been able to talk to him about the incident.

Hasan remains in a coma but is expected to live. The initial investigation shows that Hasan allegedly used only one gun during the attack - a 5.7-mm semiautomatic pistol.

Army officials said Hasan also was carrying another handgun. But the law enforcement official said there's nothing so far to indicate the second weapon was fired.

The law enforcement official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.

CNN reports that a female civilian police officer who shot the Fort Hood gunman four times during his bloody rampage stopped the attacker cold, a U.S. Army official said Friday.

Officer Kimberly Munley of the Fort Hood Police Department is a "trained, active first responder" who acted quickly after she "just happened to encounter the gunman," said Lt. Gen. Robert Cone, Fort Hood's commanding general.

The family of the suspected Fort Hood shooter says "the actions of their cousin are despicable and deplorable."

Kim Fuller, a spokeswoman for Nidal Malik Hasan's family says relatives in Northern Virginia are reaching out to law enforcement Friday to offer insight. Authorities have said Hasan is suspected in Thursday's mass killings at Fort Hood military base in Texas.

Hasan's family said in a statement Friday that his actions don't reflect how they were raised in the U.S. Military officials are still trying to piece together what may have pushed the 39-year-old Army psychiatrist, trained to help soldiers in distress, to turn on his comrades.

Dr. Stephen Beckwith was the emergency room supervisor when the first word of a mass shooting came in.

"The folks that were working in the ER, the OR staff, the anesthesiologists, the surgeons, the nurses... you know, people who were involved in the care you know people who were involved in the care for the most part just kept a very level head," said ER Supervisor Dr. Stephen Beckwith.

"The thing that struck most of us was the number of casualties. When we've had these types of events downrange, it's usually a blast type injury and you have lots of casualties from that blast. I don't think any of us have seen that number of gunshot wounds at one time."

Law enforcement officials are still trying to determine a motive behind the shooting.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has declared a moment of silence for U.S. military forces worldwide as a show of respect for the Fort Hood victims.

The moment of silence is planned for 2:34 p.m. EST Friday - exactly 24 hours after the shooting in Texas. All U.S. forces worldwide are being asked to participate in the show of respect.

A spokesman says Gates has no immediate plans to travel to Fort Hood. Army Chief of Staff George Casey and Army Secretary John McHugh arrived at the base Friday.

In an exclusive interview with NBC affiliate KSL, a father of a soldier whose  identity he did not want revealed described what his daughter says happened  before the gunman started shooting.

"He said, 'Allah Akbar,' and just opened up on everybody.  Initially she  thought it was some kind of training, some real life scenario.  But it was  within a second or two that she realized it was for real because the person  next to her was shot and killed instantly." 

An armed female security officer shot Hasan 4 times before SWAT teams were able  to storm the building.

As alarms sounded around fort hood, for hours families awaited word about loved  ones. President Obama called it "A horrific outburst of violence. It's difficult enough when we lose these brave Americans in battles overseas.   It is horrifying that they come under fire at a military base on American  soil."

Obama says the "whole nation is grieving right now" over the mass killings at Fort Hood. He urged people not to jump to conclusions while law enforcement officials gather facts about the shootings.

The president on Friday ordered flags at the White House and other federal agencies to be flown at half-staff until Veterans Day as a tribute to those who lost their lives.

The 39 year old man believed responsible is single with no children.  A  military psychiatrist, he was previously at Walter Reed in Washington, DC.

Late Thursday federal agents searched a home in Kensington, Maryland where Hasan lived during his medical training.

  Authorities are looking at several Internet postings that they say may offer  clues.  One Blog, posted by username Nidal Hasan, compared suicide bombers with  a soldier throwing himself on a grenade to save the lives of his comrades. 

The post reads: "To say that this soldier committed suicide is inappropriate.   It's more appropriate to say he is a brave hero that sacrificed his life for a  more noble cause."  

Authorities are not speculating over if he was targeting his victims or if this was random. 

  • More coverage from the New York Times-


Ft. Hood Investigators Focus on Motive
By CLIFFORD KRAUSS and JACK HEALY
Amid a public outpouring of grief on Friday for those gunned down at the Fort Hood
Army base, new details emerged about the chaotic moments of the shooting.


Neighbor Says Hasan Gave Belongings Away Before Attack
By JAMES DAO and MICHAEL BRICK
Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the suspect in the shooting, said on Thursday he would not
need his possessions anymore, his neighbor said.


Victims Remembered for Their Dedication
By LIZ ROBBINS
The United States Army has not released the names of the victims, but
families have confirmed some of the deaths.