Army officer opens fire at Fort Hood, killing 13

maester

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#1
FORT HOOD, Texas – An Army officer opened fire Thursday with two handguns at the Fort Hood military base in an attack that left 13 (12 soldiers 1 civilian 1 Baby) people dead and 43 wounded. Authorities killed the gunman and apprehended two other soldiers in what appears to be the worst mass shooting at a U.S. military base.

There was no immediate word on a motive. The shooting began around 1:30 p.m., said Lt. Gen. Bob Cone at Fort Hood. He said all the casualties took place at the base's Soldier Readiness Center, where soldiers who are about to be deployed or who are returning undergo medical screening.

"It's a terrible tragedy. It's stunning," Cone said.

A law enforcement official identified the shooting suspect as Army Maj. Malik Nadal Hasan. The official said Hasan, believed to be in his late 30s, was killed after opening fire at the base. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the case publicly.

A defense official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said Hasan was a mental health professional — an Army psychologist or psychiatrist. Officials say it was not clear what Hasan's religion was, but investigators are trying to determine if Hasan was his birth name or if he may have changed his name and converted to Islam at some point.

A graduation ceremony for soldiers who finished college courses while deployed was going on nearby at the time of the shooting, said Sgt. Rebekah Lampam, a Fort Hood spokeswoman.

Greg Schanepp, U.S. Rep. John Carter's regional director in Texas, was representing Carter at the graduation, said John Stone, a spokesman for Carter, whose district includes the Army post.

Schanepp was at the ceremony when a soldier who had been shot in the back came running toward him and alerted him of the shooting, Stone said. The soldier told Schanepp not to go in the direction of the shooter, he said.

The base was locked down after the shootings. The wounded were dispersed among hospitals in central Texas, Cone said. Nine were taken to Scott & White Memorial Hospital in Temple. A hospital spokeswoman says all had been shot and are adults. A Fort Hood spokesman said he could not immediately confirm any identities of the injured.

Lisa Pfund of Random Lake, Wis., says her daughter, 19-year-old Amber Bahr, was shot in the stomach but was in stable condition. "We know nothing, just that she was shot in the belly," Pfund told The Associated Press. She couldn't provide more details and only spoke with emergency personnel.

"I ask that all of you keep these families and these individuals in your prayers today," Texas Gov. Rick Perry said.

The shootings on the Texas military base stirred memories of other recent mass shootings in the United States, including 13 dead at a New York immigrant center in March, 10 killed during a gunman's rampage across Alabama in March and 32 killed in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history at Virginia Tech in 2007.

Around the country, some bases stepped up security precautions, but no others were locked down.

"The bottom line for us is that we are increasing security at our gates because the threat hasn't yet been defined, and we're reminding our Marines to be vigilant in their areas of responsibility," said Capt. Rob Dolan, public affairs officer for the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Ariz.

In Washington, President Barack Obama called the shooting "a horrific outburst of violence." He said it's a tragedy to lose a soldier overseas and even more horrifying when they come under fire at an Army base on American soil.

"We will make sure that we get answers to every single question about this horrible incident," the commander in chief said. "We are going to stay on this."

Covering 339 square miles, Fort Hood is the largest active duty armored post in the United States. Home to about 52,000 troops as of earlier this year, the sprawling base is located halfway between Austin and Waco.

About a mile from Fort Hood's east gate, Cynthia Thomas, director of Under the Hood Cafe, a coffee house and outreach center, was calling soldiers and friends on the post to make sure they're OK.

"It's chaotic," Thomas said, as a SWAT team just drove by. "The phones are jammed. Everybody is calling family members and friends. Soldiers are running around with M-16s."

Fort Hood officially opened on Sept. 18, 1942, and was named in honor of Gen. John Bell Hood. It has been continuously used for armored training and is charged with maintaining readiness for combat missions
 

maester

Administrator
Staff member
#2
FORT HOOD, Texas – An Army psychiatrist set to be shipped overseas opened fire at the Fort Hood Army post Thursday, authorities said, a rampage that killed 12 people and left 31 wounded in the worst mass shooting ever at a military base in the United States.

The gunman, first said to have been killed, was wounded but alive and in stable condition under military guard, said Lt. Gen. Bob Cone at Fort Hood. "I would say his death is not imminent," Cone said. Col. Ben Danner said the suspect was shot four times and was in critical condition.

The man was identified as Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, a 39-year-old from Virginia.

President Barack Obama called the shooting at the Soldier Readiness Center, where soldiers who are about to be deployed or who are returning undergo medical screening, "a horrific outburst of violence."

"It's difficult enough when we lose these brave Americans in battles overseas," the commander in chief said. "It is horrifying that they should come under fire at an Army base on American soil."

There was no official word on motive. Hasan had transferred to Fort Hood in July from Walter Reed Medical Center, where he received a poor performance evaluation, according to an official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the case publicly.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, said generals at Fort Hood told her that Hasan was about to deploy overseas. Retired Col. Terry Lee, who said he had worked with Hasan, told Fox News he was being sent to Afghanistan.

Lee said Hasan had hoped Obama would pull troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq and got into frequent arguments with others in the military who supported the wars.

Faizul Khan, a former imam at a mosque Hasan attended in Silver Spring, Md., said he spoke often with Hasan about how Hasan wanted to find a wife. Hasan was a lifelong Muslim and attended prayers regularly, often in his Army uniform, Khan said.

The shooter used two pistols, one of them semiautomatic. Neither were military-issued, Danner said.

Video from the scene showed police patrolling the area with handguns and rifles, ducking behind buildings for cover. Sirens could be heard wailing while a woman's voice on a public-address system urged people to take cover.

"I was confused and just shocked," said Spc. Jerry Richard, 27, who works at the center but was not on duty during the shooting. "Overseas you are ready for it. But here you can't even defend yourself."

Soldiers at Fort Hood don't carry weapons unless they are doing training exercises.

The Rev. Greg Schannep was about to head into a graduation ceremony when a man in uniform approached him, warning him that someone had opened fire. Schannep heard three volleys of gunfire and saw people running.

"There was a burst of shots and more bursts of shots and people running everywhere," said Schannep, who works for local Congressman John Carter.

The uniformed man who had warned him ran to the theater. Schannep said he could see the man's back was bloodied from a wound. The man survived, was treated and will be fine, Schannep said.

Cone said initially three people were held, and all have been interviewed. Authorities believe, however, that there was a single shooter.

The Soldier Readiness Center holds hundreds of people and is one of the most populated parts of the base, said Steve Moore, a spokesman for III Corps at Fort Hood. Nearby there are barracks and a food center where there are fast food chains.

The wounded were dispersed among hospitals in central Texas, Cone said. Their identities, and the identities of the dead, were not immediately released.

Amber Bahr, 19, was shot in the stomach but was in stable condition, said her mother, Lisa Pfund of Random Lake, Wis.

"We know nothing, just that she was shot in the belly," Pfund told The Associated Press. She couldn't provide more details and only spoke with emergency personnel.

Hasan was single with no children. He graduated from Virginia Tech, where he was a member of the ROTC and earned a bachelor's degree in biochemistry in 1997. He received his medical degree from the military's Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., in 2001 and was at Walter Reed for six years for his internship, residency and a fellowship.

The attack happened just down the road from one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history. On Oct. 16, 1991, George Hennard smashed his pickup truck through a Luby's Cafeteria window in Killeen, Texas, and fired on the lunchtime crowd with a high-powered pistol, killing 22 people and wounding at least 20 others.

No other shooting at a military base in the U.S. has been anywhere near as deadly as Thursday's. In 1993, a gunman at Fort Knox shot five civilian co-workers, killing three, and then fatally shot himself.

Around the country, some bases stepped up security precautions, but no others were locked down.

Covering 339 square miles, Fort Hood is the largest active duty armored post in the United States. Home to about 52,000 troops as of earlier this year, it is located halfway between Austin and Waco.
 
#3
The kill count was 12 soldiers, one civilian (according to CNN). Ironically, the gunman was a psychiatrist.

My thoughts are with the families of all those killed and injured. Hope no one around here knows anyone affected by this... isn't Nancy somewhere around there?
 

maester

Administrator
Staff member
#4
The 13 people killed when an Army psychiatrist allegedly opened fire on fellow soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas, included a pregnant woman who was preparing to return home, a man who quit a furniture company job to join the military about a year ago, a newlywed who had served in Iraq and a woman who had vowed to take on Osama bin Laden after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Here is a look at some of the victims.

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Francheska Velez

Velez, 21, of Chicago, was pregnant and preparing to return home. A friend of Velez's, Sasha Ramos, described her as a fun-loving person who wrote poetry and loved dancing.

"She was like my sister," Ramos, 21, said. "She was the most fun and happy person you could know. She never did anything wrong to anybody."

Family members said Velez had recently returned from deployment in Iraq and had sought a lifelong career in the Army.

"She was a very happy girl and sweet," said her father, Juan Guillermo Velez, his eyes red from crying. "She had the spirit of a child."

Ramos, who also served briefly in the military, couldn't reconcile that her friend was killed in this country — just after leaving a war zone.

"It makes it a lot harder," she said. "This is not something a soldier expects — to have someone in our uniform go start shooting at us."

___

Pfc. Aaron Thomas Nemelka

Nemelka, 19, of the Salt Lake City suburb of West Jordan, Utah, chose to join the Army instead of going on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, his uncle Christopher Nemelka said.

"As a person, Aaron was as soft and kind and as gentle as they come, a sweetheart," his uncle said. "What I loved about the kid was his independence of thought."

Aaron Nemelka, the youngest of four children, was scheduled to be deployed to Afghanistan in January, his family said in a statement. Nemelka had enlisted in the Army in October 2008, Utah National Guard Lt. Col. Lisa Olsen said.

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Pfc. Michael Pearson

Pearson, 21, of the Chicago suburb of Bolingbrook, Ill., quit what he figured was a dead-end furniture company job to join the military about a year ago.

Pearson's mother, Sheryll Pearson, said the 2006 Bolingbrook High School graduate joined the military because he was eager to serve his country and broaden his horizons.

"He was the best son in the whole world," she said. "He was my best friend and I miss him."

His cousin, Mike Dostalek, showed reporters a poem Pearson wrote. "I look only to the future for wisdom. To rock back and forth in my wooden chair," the poem says.

At Pearson's family home Friday, a yellow ribbon was tied to a porch light and a sticker stamped with American flags on the front door read, "United we stand."

Neighbor Jessica Koerber, who was with Pearson's parents when they received word Thursday their son had died, described him as a man who clearly loved his family — someone who enjoyed horsing around with his nieces and nephews, and other times playing his guitar.

"That family lost their gem," she told the AP. "He was a great kid, a great guy. ... Mikey was one of a kind."

Sheryll Pearson said she hadn't seen her son for a year because he had been training. She told the Tribune that when she last talked to him on the phone two days ago, they had discussed how he would come home for Christmas.

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Spc. Jason Dean Hunt

Hunt, 22, of Frederick, Okla., went into the military after graduating from Tipton High School in 2005 and had gotten married just two months ago, his mother, Gale Hunt, said. He had served 3 1/2 years in the Army, including a stint in Iraq.

Gale Hunt said two uniformed soldiers came to her door late Thursday night to notify her of her son's death.

Hunt, known as J.D., was "just kind of a quiet boy and a good kid, very kind," said Kathy Gray, an administrative assistant at Tipton Schools.

His mother said he was family oriented.

"He didn't go in for hunting or sports," Gale Hunt said. "He was a very quiet boy who enjoyed video games."

He had re-enlisted for six years after serving his initial two-year assignment, she said. Jason Hunt was previously stationed at Fort Stewart in Georgia.

___

Michael Grant Cahill

Cahill, a 62-year-old physician assistant, suffered a heart attack two weeks ago and returned to work at the base as a civilian employee after taking just one week off for recovery, said his daughter Keely Vanacker.

"He survived that. He was getting back on track, and he gets killed by a gunman," Vanacker said, her words bare with shock and disbelief.

Cahill, of Cameron Texas, helped treat soldiers returning from tours of duty or preparing for deployment. Often, Vanacker said, Cahill would walk young soldiers where they needed to go, just to make sure they got the right treatment.

"He loved his patients, and his patients loved him," said Vanacker, 33, the oldest of Cahill's three adult children. "He just felt his job was important."

Cahill, who was born in Spokane, Wash., had worked as a civilian contractor at Fort Hood for about four years, after jobs in rural health clinics and at Veterans Affairs hospitals. He and his wife, Joleen, had been married 37 years.

Vanacker described her father as a gregarious man and a voracious reader who could talk for hours about any subject.

The family's typical Thanksgiving dinners ended with board games and long conversations over the table, said Vanacker, whose voice often cracked with emotion as she remembered her father. "Now, who I am going to talk to?"

___

Sgt. Amy Krueger

Krueger, 29, of Kiel, Wis., joined the Army after the 2001 terrorist attacks and had vowed to take on Osama bin Laden, her mother, Jeri Krueger said.

Amy Krueger arrived at Fort Hood on Tuesday and was scheduled to be sent to Afghanistan in December, the mother told the Herald Times Reporter of Manitowoc.

Jeri Krueger recalled telling her daughter that she could not take on bin Laden by herself.

"Watch me," her daughter replied.

Kiel High School Principal Dario Talerico told The Associated Press that Krueger graduated from the school in 1998 and had spoken at least once to local elementary school students about her career.

"I just remember that Amy was a very good kid, who like most kids in a small town are just looking for what their next step in life was going to be and she chose the military," Talerico said. "Once she got into the military, she really connected with that kind of lifestyle and was really proud to serve her country."

___

Kham Xiong

Kham Xiong, 23, of St. Paul, Minn., a 2004 graduate of Community of Peace Academy, enjoyed hunting and fishing.

"The sad part is that he had been taught and been trained to protect and to fight. Yet it's such a tragedy that he did not have the opportunity to protect himself and the base," his father, Chor Xiong, told KSTP-TV through an interpreter.

Xiong's 17-year-old brother, Robert, described Kham as "the family clown, just a real good outgoing guy."

Community of Peace Academy Principal Tim McGowan told the AP that Chor Xiong informed the charter school of his son's death. Family members picked up pictures of Xiong on Friday for a memorial service, McGowan said.

"He was just a well-rounded individual with a great personality. He was very fun-loving, one who brought a smile to everyone's face he came across," McGowan said.