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.
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Witnesses say Hasan whispered something -- perhaps a prayer -- and stood up. With a cry of "Allahu Akbar" -- "Praise be to God" -- he opened fire with two handguns -- one a .357, the other a semiautomatic with a laser sight -- reloading as ammunition ran out, according to Lt. Gen Robert Cone, the base commander.
Pfc. Marquest Smith, a young soldier who had never been to war, dropped to the ground. A round nicked the tall, bespectacled soldier's boot.
"All I heard was popping noises," Smith said, followed by screaming and moaning. "Somebody's got a gun!" a soldier yelled. Outside the cubicle where Smith had taken cover, the scene was gruesome. "There were chairs, blood, tables," Smith said.
Confusion and panic reigned, says Sgt. Gray, whose Third Corps saw several casualties. He got a call from a panicked friend on the scene. "You've got to get a hold of yourself," he yelled back into the phone.
As Hasan moved in a semicircular pattern in the room, firing, base police officer Sgt. Kimberly Munley and her partner, Sgt. Mark Todd, heard a call on the radio about something going down at the readiness center. They were close by. They heard shots as they exited their car. They separated to get a bead on the shooter's location. Hasan had by then exited the building.
Sgt. Munley confronts the shooter
Munley rounded a corner between two buildings and found herself only feet from Hasan, who turned and charged at her and fired, hitting her three times. Munley, a firearms expert and mother from North Carolina, returned fire with four shots. Military officials credit her and Sgt. Todd's reaction for bringing the rampage to an end.
In the aftermath, some wounded soldiers drove themselves to the hospital; others hauled their friends into pickup trucks. At the scene, medics and volunteers tore off pieces of clothing to use as bandages.
According to the Associated Press, those killed included a pregnant woman 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.
President Obama on Saturday morning hailed the heroism of those at the scene. "Thursday's shooting was one of the most devastating ever committed on an American military base," Mr. Obama said in prepared remarks. "And yet, even as we saw the worst of human nature on full display, we also saw the best of America."
While cautioning Americans to not draw hasty conclusions about the rampage, Obama also remarked on the religious diversity of American military personnel. "They are Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus and nonbelievers," he said.
At a prayer vigil Friday night, the Army's chief chaplain, Major General Douglas Carver, said that, together, "we will reclaim safety and security for this community."
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