Details emerge but motive still a mystery in Fort Hood rampage

November 6, 2009

(ChattahBox) — Investigators are now trying to figure out why a U.S. Army major who worked as a psychiatrist, trained to treat soldiers under stress, allegedly opened fire Thursday on fellow troops in the heart of the giant army base here, killing at least 12 people and wounding at least 30 in one of the worst incidents of soldier-on-soldier violence in U.S. military history. The shooting rampage, allegedly carried out by Maj. Malik Nadal Hasan, 39, was with two pistols, one of them semi-automatic, which explains the high casualty count, when you consider most on base were unarmed. He was put down by a female civilian police officer who shot him, said Lt. Gen. Robert Cone, the top military commander on the base. The woman is expected to recover from wounds sustained in the gun battle, he said.

Maj. Hasan originally thought to have been killed, is also hospitalized after the shooting, Lt. Gen. Cone said, and “his death is not imminent,” though he’s on a ventilator and unconscious in a hospital after being shot four times during the shootings. Recently promoted to major and transferred to Fort Hood from the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, Hasan was slated to serve for the first time in Iraq in coming weeks, military officials said. An official at the Pentagon added there were indications that Maj. Hasan was deeply upset about the pending assignment. In a strikingly similar incident on May 11, 2009, a US soldier gunned down five fellow soldiers at a stress-counseling center at a US base in Baghdad.

His professional specialties include post-traumatic stress disorder, combat stress and other emotional issues common to the troops implicated in earlier incidents of military fratricide. Two other suspects were apprehended, but they have been released, according to reports, and officials are now saying the man acted alone.

Hasan reportedly drew the attention of federal law enforcement six months ago for online posts about suicide bombings and other threats. Authorities reviewed “a blog that equates suicide bombers with a soldier throwing himself on a grenade to save the lives of his comrades.” Seems strange since he was recently promoted? An imam at a Maryland mosque he attended said that Hasan was a lifelong Muslim but showed little signs of political or religious zealotry. As of now no one knows why or what events triggered Hasan to snap.


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