War comes fiercely home: Blow by blow of Fort Hood rampage
The Fort Hood rampage, intense and horrific, was over in minutes - stopped by a heroic police officer. Soldiers who rushed to help the injured are still trying to comprehend what happened, and why.
Fort Hood, Texas
Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan gave away bags of frozen broccoli and even a few copies of the Koran as he emptied out his apartment in preparation for deployment, telling one neighbor, "Nice knowing you, old friend. I'm going to miss you."Skip to next paragraph
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The veteran Army psychiatrist, who specialized in helping soldiers deal with war trauma, had grown disillusioned with the war, seeing its impact on soldiers and how it conflicted with his faith -- points he had allegedly made in public and on the Internet.
When newly-elected President Obama failed to pull troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, Mr. Hasan's spirits fell further. His outspoken negative views on the war, coupled with his wearing Muslim dress off-base, had caused fellow soldiers to target him with verbal abuse, family members recalled, only deepening Hasan's anger. An attempt to get discharged from the Army failed.
But to go from anguish, disillusionment, and anger over his scheduled deployment to Afghanistan to turning a .357 Magnum and a PN 5.7 pistol on fellow soldiers is still a mystery to stunned and grieving Fort Hood soldiers and the greater US military family.
Motive still a mystery
Whether the rampage is a singular incident or indicative of eight years of war’s mental effect on soldiers, those here who witnessed the rampage and are dealing with its aftermath can only surmise that the war had burst into their "home" -- deep into a sanctuary where "you're not supposed to have to be on guard, ready to get shot," says Sgt. Christopher Gray.
As for Hasan's motive, Sgt. Gray said he really doesn’t care at this point. "A guy on our own team? Ridiculous.”
Indeed, motive is still not completely clear, and so far Hasan remains unconscious in serious but stable condition at a hospital in San Antonio. The FBI and Army investigators have scoured his off-base apartment and computers, looking for clues. So far, they've found no links to any terror organization.
Meanwhile, eyewitness accounts reveal a timeline of the short, but intense rampage where over 100 bullets were fired, leaving 13 dead and as many as 38 injured, some still in area hospitals. Over 300 soldiers in various stages of deployment and return had come to the Soldier Readiness Processing Center at Fort Hood for a series of bureaucratic, boring, but necessary paperwork and medical procedures.
While those soldiers moved unknowingly toward a day of terror, Hasan may have done so knowingly, according to Army sources.
At approximately 1:30 on Thursday, soldiers say they saw Hasan sitting quietly at a table in the Soldier Readiness Processing Center, a large warren of rooms designed for what most soldiers see as the banal bureaucracy of life in the Army. It wouldn't be unusual to see an Army psychiatrist there. Hasan worked at a nearby hospital, where many of wounded would later be rushed.