The Shooting: Twelve Killed, 31 Wounded, Suspect in Stable Condition
At least 12 people were killed and 31 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 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, Thursday night Army officials said he was alive and hospitalized after being shot multiple times by a female first responder. He's in stable condition. (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 Thursday evening; 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.
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.
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson, R-Texas, told Fox News that military sources informed her that the gunman was about to be deployed to Iraq.
The shooter was killed and two other suspects, who are also soldiers, have been apprehended, Lt. Gen. Robert W. Cone said.
The general said there were "eyewitness accounts of more than one shooter," and the others were tracked to an adjacent facility.
Cone called the attack "a terrible tragedy, stunning." He said the community was "absolutely devastated."