Friday, November 6, 2009

Bulletin: Mass Shooting at Fort Hood in Texas--12 Dead, Gunman wounded but still alive


In addition to this catastrophic and horrifying tragedy for all involved in this shooting i
magine all the racist rightwing propaganda and vigilante violence that is now going to be aimed at Arab and Muslim American citizens in general both in and out of the U.S. military in the wake of this. As we all well know Americans are notorious for hunting down scapegoats in the wake of any tragedy like this and especially when racial and religious minorities are involved. So expect the worse. As a number of people are already suggesting both in the media and the general society this whole thing doesn't add up on a multitude of levels and it makes me seriously suspect that we may already have some sort of military or government coverup brewing like we did with the U.S. military "friendly fire" death of the American soldier Pat Tillman (remember him?). Stay tuned...

NOVEMBER 5, 2009

Mass Shooting at Fort Hood

New York Times

Update | 9:15 p.m. At a news conference outside Fort Hood the base commander, Lt. Gen. Robert Cone, just revealed that earlier reports that the suspected gunman, Major Nidal Hasan, had been killed were incorrect. Major Hasan was wounded but remains alive, Lt. Gen. Cone said, adding that he is in custody and "his death is not imminent." He added that 12 people, not 11, had been killed by whom the military authorities now describe as a single gunman.

Lt. Gen. Cone added that soldiers are not armed on the base: "As a matter of practice, we do not carry weapons - this is our home."

Update | 8:48 p.m. Here is video described as "the aftermath of a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas," shot by a Department of Defense video crew:

Update | 8:26 p.m. The Associated Press reports:

Federal law enforcement officials say the suspected Fort Hood shooter had come to their attention at least six months ago because of Internet postings that discussed suicide bombings and other threats.

The officials say the postings appeared to have been made by Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who was killed during the shooting incident that left least 11 others dead and 31 wounded. The officials say they are still trying to confirm that he was the author. They say an official investigation was not opened.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case.

One of the Web postings that authorities reviewed is a blog that equates suicide bombers with a soldier throwing himself on a grenade to save the lives of his comrades.

Update | 8:17 p.m. My colleague James Dao has spoken with Nader Hasan, a cousin of the suspected gunman who said that the military psychiatrist had recently expressed deep concerns about being sent to Iraq or Afghanistan. Having counseled scores of returning soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder, first at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington and more recently at Fort Hood, he knew all too well the terrifying realities of war, his cousin said.

"He was mortified by the idea of having to deploy," Mr. Hasan said. "He had people telling him on a daily basis the horrors they saw over there."

Nader Hasan also told a local Fox affiliate that his cousin said he heard "horrific things" from soldiers who had served in combat, and that he had been "dealing with harassment from his military colleagues."

Update | 8:13 p.m. As a colleague from Texas reminds us, there was a mass shooting near the Fort Hood base, in the town of Killeen, in 1991. That shooting was described in a 2001 article in The Houston Chronicle:

Before Oct. 16, 1991, the Central Texas town of Killeen was perhaps best known for its proximity to the Army base at Fort Hood, and Luby's was known only regionally as a popular cafeteria chain that served a wide variety of inexpensive dishes. But on that day, both came to be linked to what was then the worst mass murder in U.S. history.

At 12:45 p.m., 35-year-old George Hennard of nearby Belton drove his pickup truck through a window at the Killeen Luby's and killed 24 people. His 15-minute rampage ended when he shot himself after being wounded by police officers.

Update | 8:08 p.m. NBC reports that Major Hasan was "transferred to the Texas base in July, where he was preparing to deploy to Iraq later this month."

Update | 8:06 p.m. According to Christopher Hogue, a spokesman for the Army at Fort Hood, says that the lockdown at Fort Hood has been lifted. A note on the Web site of a nearby hospital says:

Scott & White Memorial Hospital has received 10 gunshot victims from Fort Hood. All patients are adults. No other victims are expected to arrive at Scott & White in Temple or at any of Scott & White locations.

Update | 7:59 p.m. W. Gardner Selby reports on The Austin American-Statesman's Blotter blog:

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, who has been briefed on the shootings at Fort Hood, said one suspect, Nadal Malik Hasan, was a physician who was born in Virginia to parents who hailed from Jordan.

CNN reports that a cousin of Major Hasan said that he took "flak" for being of Middle Eastern origin.

Update | 7:41 p.m. Given that Thursday's shooting spree took place at a readiness center, where troops were about to be deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, the subject will certainly turn to combat stress. According to the Web site of the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress, where the suspected gunman, Major Nidal Hasan, worked as a psychiatrist, he was involved in thinking about just that issue:

The Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress (CSTS) addresses both the invisible and visible wounds of war through research, education and consultation. The invisible wounds of war include the mental health consequences of deployment. These can range from normal distress to the treatable mental disorders of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Warrior wounds can also involve health risks such as increased use of tobacco, alcohol and/or drugs that can result in violence to self, spouse and/or children.

Update | 7:22 p.m. Information about Dr. Nidal Hasan posted on a Virginia Board of Medicine Web site includes a note that he saw patients at Darnell Army Medical Center Monday through Friday.

Update | 7:11 p.m. A personnel record for Major Hasan obtained by The New York Times says that he was born in Virginia in September, 1970. He had an undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech. His record said that he had expressed no religious preference. His last posting was at Darnell Army Medical Center at Fort Hood, where he worked as a psychiatrist.

Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress Maj. Nidal Hasan
Update | 6:43 p.m. A cached version of a biographical entry for Nidal Hasan, the suspected gunman who was killed on Thursday at Fort Hood, on the Web site of the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress where he worked before being deployed to Texas describes him as "Fellow, Disaster and Preventive Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences."

A screen shot from the Web site of the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress.
Update | 6:36 p.m. The Kileen Daily Herald reports on Twitter:

Metroplex Hospital in Killeen says it has received seven of Ft Hood shooting victims - two are in surgery, four are in stable condition and "one of the victims it received has since died."

Update | 6:33 p.m. We are waiting for another news conference to start at the base. Here is video from The Associated Press of the previous remarks from the base commander, Gen. Robert Cone:

Update | 6:26 p.m. My colleagues on our Research desk have determined that the name of the suspected gunman is Nidal Malik Hasan. He was a Major in the Army and had a medical license from the state of Virginia.

Update | 6:22 p.m. The Austin American-Statesman notes that this is the second shooting at the base in just over a year:

Another shooting occurred at the post Sept. 8, 2008. In that incident, Spc. Jody Michael Wirawan, 22, of Eagle River, Ala., who was scheduled to soon be discharged, fatally shot 1st Lt. Robert Bartlett Fletcher, 24, of Jensen Beach, Fla. When Killeen police arrived, they fired shots at Wirawan. He responded by shooting himself, Fort Hood officials told The Associated Press at the time.

The 209,000-acre installation has a total population of 92,533, according to the Fort Hood Fact Book. The total number of military personnel assigned is about 57,000. There are 17,900 on-post family members. About 5,600 civilians workers and about 9,500 contractors, the fact book said.

Update | 6:16 p.m. According to the Marine Corps Times, a Pentagon source said the suspected gunman killed at Fort Hood, Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, "was a psychiatrist recently reassigned from Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., to work with soldiers at Darnall Army Medical Center on Fort Hood."

Update | 6:10 p.m. My colleague Jeff Zeleny passes on President Obama's complete remarks on the shootings, made earlier this afternoon in Washington:

[There has been a tragic shooting at the Fort Hood Army base in Texas. We don't yet know all the details at this moment; we will share them as we get them. What we do know is that a number of American soldiers have been killed, and even more have been wounded in a horrific outburst of violence.

My immediate thoughts and prayers are with the wounded and with the families of the fallen, and with those who live and serve at Fort Hood. 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. 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.

I've spoken to Secretary Gates and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, and I will continue to receive a constant stream of updates as new information comes in. We are working with the Pentagon, the FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security, all to ensure that Fort Hood is secure, and we will continue to support the community with the full resources of the federal government.

In the meantime, I would ask all Americans to keep the men and women of Fort Hood in your thoughts and prayers. We will make sure that we get answers to every single question about this horrible incident. And I want all of you to know that as Commander-in-Chief, there's no greater honor but also no greater responsibility for me than to make sure that the extraordinary men and women in uniform are properly cared for and that their safety and security when they are at home is provided for.

So we are going to stay on this. But I hope in the meantime that all of you recognize the scope of this tragedy, and keep everybody in their thoughts and prayers.

Update | 6:06 p.m. The Associated Press reports that "a defense official speaking on condition of anonymity says Hasan was a mental health professional - an Army psychologist or psychiatrist.

Update | 6:04 p.m. According to a post on The Austin American-Statesman's Blotter blog:

Jeff Sadosky, a spokesman for U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, said the senator had been told that Malik Nadal Hasan, who has been identified as a the shooting suspect at Fort Hood, was upset about his upcoming deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan.

Update | 5:41 p.m. My colleagues in Washington report that the Army confirms that the gunman who was killed was Army Major Malik Nadal Hasan. Several news organizations are reporting that he was 39 or 40 years old.

Update | 5:36 p.m. CNN reports that the soldiers who were at the readiness center were getting ready to deploy to Iraq.

Update | 5:23 p.m. My colleague Elisabeth Bumiller reports that the Pentagon confirms that the suspect is an Army Major. Several television networks, including CNN, ABC News and NBC, citing anonymous law-enforcement sources, have identified the gunman as Army Major Malik Nadal Hasan.

Update | 5:18 p.m. President Obama addressed the attack during a previously scheduled meeting with leaders of Native American tribal nations. Frank James transcribed his remarks for NPR's news blog, The Two-Way. The President said, in part:

We don't yet know all the details at this moment. We will share them as we get them. What we do know is that a number of American soldiers have been killed and even more have been wounded in a horrific outburst of violence. My immediate thought is with the wounded and the families of the fallen. 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. It's difficult enough when we lose these brave Americans overseas. It is horrifying that they should come under fire at an Army base on American soil.

Update | 5:11 p.m. The Killeen Daily Herald reports:

Scott & White Hospital in Temple reported that it was receiving all victims of the shooting and all are adults. Scott & White Hospital reported that it would remain open and requested blood donations.

Update | 5:08 p.m. Christopher Hogue, a spokesman at Fort Hood says that the gunman who was killed had two handguns. He confirms that 12 people are dead, including the gunman and that 31 have been wounded. The base remains locked down.

Update | 4:54 p.m. According to a Twitter feed from the Killeen Daily Herald, a newspaper near the base, Gen. Cone told reporters that the incident is over: all soldiers are accounted for and all of the casualties were injured or killed in the initial burst of fire inside the readiness facility at the base. The Killeen newspaper reports:

Local police killed the confirmed shooter, one Fort Hood civilian police officer among the dead.

The newspaper adds "parents may NOT go pick up students from 10 schools on Fort Hood."

Rodolfo Gonzalez/Austin American-Statesman, via Associated Press Lt. Gen. Robert Cone, the commander of the Army base at Fort Hood, Texas spoke to the media on Thursday after a mass shooting at the facility.
Update | 4:48 p.m. Lt. Gen. Robert W. Cone, the base commander, is speaking to the media outside the base. He confirms that 12 people have been killed and 31 wounded. He also said that the shootings took place at a readiness facility, which is where soldiers go before deploying overseas. Gen. Cone said that the gunmen were Fort Hood soldiers and used handguns. Two soldiers have been detained as suspects in the shootings, in addition to the suspect who was killed.

Update | 4:39 p.m. CNN's Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr reports that 12 people have been killed and up to 30 wounded. One of the dead is said to have been one of the gunmen.

Update | 4:37 p.m. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison told Fox 4 News in Texas that one shooter was in custody and "another is still at large."
She also said she was told by authorities that there were as many as 30 wounded at "a processing center where soldiers are processed to go to Iraq or Afghanistan."

"Our hearts go out," she said. "These are soldiers who are getting ready to go out to Iraq or Afghanistan and their families were under stress already. This was just a terrible tragedy and we don't even know the extent of it yet."

Update | 4:27 p.m. A note on the Web site of the base newspaper, the Fort Hood Sentinel, says that a graduation ceremony was scheduled for Thursday afternoon just after the shootings reportedly took place near the Howze Auditorium on the base. According to the Sentinel: "The ceremony recognizes Soldiers and family members who have not had the opportunity to participate in college commencement exercises during the past year due to deployments or other commitments."

Update | 4:21 p.m. Speaking to CNN, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison said that the gunmen were wearing military uniforms.

Update | 4:19 p.m. The Associated Press reports that the number of people injured in the attack is at least 20.

Update | 4:15 p.m. CNN reports that two military sources say that the second gunman at Fort Hood is "cornered."

Original Post | 4:07 p.m. Seven people have been killed and twelve wounded in a mass shooting at the Army base at Fort Hood, Texas, on Thursday, according to Lt. Col. Nathan Banks, an Army spokesman. Lt. Col. Nathan Banks told my colleague David Stout that the shootings started at about 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time and that the base has been locked down. He added that one person is in custody but there is believed to be at least one more gunman still at large.

The Associated Press reports that the Web site of the base in central Texas has posted an alert that says, "Effective immediately Fort Hood is closed." The Web site, which became unavailable soon after the shootings were reported, said that units at the base have been ordered to account for all personnel.

The site says: "This is not a Drill. It is an Emergency Situation."

The A.P. adds that several television stations in Texas have been reporting on the incident at the base, which is located halfway between Austin and Waco.

Patrick Tolbert of the local ABC affiliate KXXV reports:

Fort Hood officials say one person is in custody but are asking people to stay away from windows. We've learned an incident has taken place at the sports dome, now known as the soldier readiness area.

We will bring you more information on this incident as soon as it is available.

Any readers in the area with information, in the form of eye-witness accounts, photographs or video are encouraged to send it to us, either by writing to or posting in the comment thread below.