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Three soldiers suspects in shooting at Fort Hood

Posted November 5, 2009

— A soldier opened fire at a U.S. Army base in Fort Hood, Texas on Thursday, unleashing a stream of gunfire that left 12 people dead and 31 wounded. Authorities killed the gunman, and apprehended two other soldiers suspected in what appears to be the worst mass shooting at a U.S. military base.

The shooting began around 1:30 p.m., Lt. Gen. Bob Cone said at a news conference. 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.

The official says investigators are trying to determine if Hasan was his birth name, or if he changed his name and converted to Islam at some point in his life.

Cone said the soldier used two handguns in the attack. It was not clear if the gunman had stopped to reload.

A graduation ceremony for soldiers who finished college courses while deployed was going on in an auditorium at the Readiness Center 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. Stone said he believes Schanepp was in the theater.

The base was locked down after the shootings. The wounded were dispersed among hospitals in central Texas, Cone said.

A spokesman for Fort Bragg said they were not taking additional precautions. "It's business as usual," Public Affairs Officer Jackie Thomas told WRAL News.

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 local coffee shop and nonprofit military support center, has been 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. "They're just saying that they're under attack they don't know what's going on. ... 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.


AP National Security Writer Anne Gearan and Associated Press writers Suzanne Gamboa, Lolita C. Baldor and Devlin Barrett in Washington, D.C., and Associated Press Writer Jay Root in Fort Worth, Associated Press Writers Linda Stewart Ball, Anabelle Garay and Andre Coe in Dallas contributed to this report.


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  • jdmchic00 Nov 5, 2009

    prayers to the victims and their families.. we're stationed at 29 palms CA at the marine corps base and they have stepped up security here as well. This is a true tragedy and I hope all the questions are answered in a timely manner.

  • mandrepage Nov 5, 2009

    I can`t imagine the thoughts going through the " anti gun fanatics";... those opposed to Americans possessing guns. ..What a quagmire? Yes? Now perhaps the military must fight wars without guns????

  • freedomrings Nov 5, 2009

    Everyday I pray for peace and freedom for our soldiers, the Iraqi people, the people of Afghanistan.

    What a tragedy.

    Is anyone else gettng a sickening feeling in their stomach?

  • Next_Generation_Educator Nov 5, 2009

    This shooter acted as a coward. I have no doubt that he did some worthy things to earn his rank prior to this cowardly act. I have nothing but respect and admiration for those who serve our nation. This tragedy should not be taken lightly. Instead of pointing our energies at the COWARD, let's focus on the victims, their families, and the morale of the other soldiers at Ft. Hood.

  • ncwebguy Nov 5, 2009

    Not one, but TWO "Blame Obama"s, truely ridiculous discourse. Three if you count Pappy1 the Defender.

    Glad to hear that your loved ones are safe. We need to give these young men and women all the support we can. They are giving up so much to defend this nation and the so called Prez of this Nation cannot support them with a decision. Send more troups or get them out of there. The do nothing is WRONG. I am praying for each person at that base and hope everyone else is also. Grandpeople 4:10 p.m

    They notified obama and the White House...oh no... now the Army err...I mean killers are really in trouble.
    RedStatesManWatts 4:24 p.m

  • RonnieR Nov 5, 2009

    Tenative ID on one was a MAJ Hasan.

  • pappy1 Nov 5, 2009

    So, I fear we may finally have had the next attack on America. This fellow was extremely skilled to have executed 12 Soldiers using 2 handguns (as it has been reported). It is rare that a non-special operations Soldier, even an officer, can employ a sidearm with such horrendous accuracy and the speed necessary to commit such an act.

  • pappy1 Nov 5, 2009


    Give us all a break from your "ridiculous" discourse.

    Sorry for the spelling error.

  • pappy1 Nov 5, 2009


    Give us all a break from your rediculous discourse.

  • Worland Nov 5, 2009

    Seems the lead shooter was an Army Major, Muslim convert who was worried/opposed to be deployed. He used two handguns. He was killed by local law enforcement, but not before killing a local officer. The other suspects are still under wraps.