Friday, November 06, 2009

The Fort Hood shooting

An army officer upset at the prospect of deploying to Iraq opened fire on fellow soldiers at the world's largest military base yesterday in a mass shooting that left 12 people dead and at least 31 wounded.
At least two other men in uniform were initially suspected of involvement in the incident at Fort Hood in Texas, raising fears of a co-ordinated attack.
However base commander Lieutenant General Bob Cone later confirmed there was only one suspected gunman, identified last night as Major Nidal Malik Hasan, a doctor specialising in mental health.

The above is from Giles Whittell's "'Iraq deployment triggered Nidal Malik Hasan US base rampage'" (Times of London) and a briefing this morning puts the dead at 13 and the injured at 28. The suspect is US Army Maj Nidal Malik Hasan. Julian E. Barnes and Andrew Zajac (Los Angeles Times) add that he was scheduled to deploy to Iraq November 28th. From Kelly Gooch's "East Texas Military Families React To Events At Fort Hood" (Tyler Morning Telegraph):

Spc. Shawntae Hall, 22, is one of the soldiers stationed at the Army base.
Her mother, Norma Tompkins, of Tyler, said she called Ms. Hall Thursday and left a message on her cell phone. She also tried all of her daughter's friends and a fellow military mother.
"I kind of lost it for a few minutes. When I heard from her it was the biggest relief of my life," she said.
During the short phone conversation, Mrs. Tompkins said Ms. Hall told her officials were about to lock down the base and she would not be able to use a cell phone or the Internet.

For those wondering how blocking cell phone and internet use is about protecting service members, it's not. It's about the military brass attempting to clamp down on the story -- not at all different from what thug Nouri al-Maliki does in Iraq with the press. Skip notes this from Ann Davies (The Age):

It is not clear how long the killing spree lasted but a female first-responder, a policewoman on the base, arrived and shot Hasan several times before he went down. She was wounded in the process.
For many hours the assumption was that Hasan had died. But when the lockdown was lifted, base commander Lieutenant-General Robert Cone stunned the media by saying Hasan was alive and in a stable condition, though not yet talking.

Moni Basu (CNN -- link has text and several videos as well) offers, "Soldiers were dragging bodies away from the shooter. They snatched tablecloths off tables, cut up their own sage-green digital combat uniforms, even their tan undershirts, and turned them into tourniquets and pressure bandages. Everyone tried to render CPR and medical aid. Some were medical personnel. Others were simply friends helping friends."

As noted earlier, there was a press briefing this morning at Fort Hood. Mark Memmott (NPR) reports on that:

7:37 a.m. ET: The suspect's condition is "stable." Why was it originally said by Army personnel that suspect Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan was dead? "Confusion," says the briefer, Col. John Rossi.

7:39 a.m. ET: One civilian was killed. The other fatally wounded victims were military personnel, Col. John Rossi says.

7:40 a.m. ET: The soldiers at the scene were not armed. The "first responder" who wounded the suspect was a female police officer. She was wounded and is now in stable condition.

The following community sites updated last night:
And Marcia's "EDNA (not Garrett)," Trina's "E-mails," Ruth's "Time of death?," Ann's "Greenpeace, 40 years old," Kat's "Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee" and Isaiah's "George Bush's lover."

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oh boy it never ends