Thursday, November 05, 2009

Developing: Seven Dead In Shooting At Fort Hood

Fort Hood, located 60 miles from Austin, Texas, is reporting that seven people were killed and 12 others injured in a shooting on the US Army base.
At least seven people are dead and 12 wounded in a shooting at Fort Hood in Texas, the base's public affairs office told NBC News on Thursday.

The official would not give his name nor additional details. It was unknown whether victims are soldiers or civilians. One gunman was reportedly in custody and another was on the loose, NBC News said.

The base was reportedly on lockdown. Two nearby school districts were also being locked down.
The incident appears to have occurred at the Soldier Readiness Center on base. All available EMS units in neighboring Killeen are being scrambled to the base.

My thoughts and prayers go out the families and friends of those involved.

The Fort Hood websites are overwhelmed at the moment, so news from the source is going to take some time to come out.

There were apparently two gunmen involved, one is in custody while a second is on the loose according to MSNBC. No word on whether those involved (either the gunmen or victims) were soldiers or civilians.

Unconfirmed reports that one gunman is holed up in the 42006 building on the base. Same report notes that gunman has high powered rifle. The local school districts are in various levels of lockdown:
Killeen ISD says all Fort Hood schools are on lockdown.

Temple ISD is on a "soft" lockdown. Parents will be able to pick their children up at the normal times, though they may experience delays.
MSNBC reports that there might be a third gunman involved. Video updates here.

Rep. John Carter was nearing entrance of building where a graduation ceremony was being held when a soldier ran up covered in blood.
Greg Schannep, an aide to U.S. Rep. John Carter, told the Austin American-Statesman that he was on the Army post to attend a graduation service. He said that as he neared the entrance of a building where the service was being held, a soldier with blood on his uniform ran past him and said a man was shooting.

Schannep told the newspaper that the shootings appeared to have occurred in a complex near a theater where the service was scheduled. He was with the injured soldier, who he said appeared to have been struck in the shoulder but did not have life-threatening injuries.

According to unconfirmed reports, one of the shooters was being surrounded by police in the 42006 building on Fort Hood. That source told KCEN the shooter has a high-powered rifle.
Fox News is reporting at least 20 were injured, and I fear that the toll will increase as more information comes available.

Fort Hood is a vast facility, and is the largest military base in the world. This incident has all the hallmarks of a planned attack, quite possibly terrorism, but that is speculation at the moment.

Sources on Fort Hood say only 2 shooters; both have now been taken into custody. 4 SWAT injured in the gunfire.

AP reports:
The Army says seven people were killed and 20 wounded in a pair of shootings at the Fort Hood Army base in Texas. An Army spokesman at the Pentagon says the shootings began about 1:30 p.m. Thursday at a personnel and medical processing center at Fort Hood.

The spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Nathan Banks, says two shooters were apparently involved. There is no word yet on who they were, nor on identities of the dead.

Banks says the second incident took place at a theater on the sprawling base.
They go on to speculate that the incident was the result of someone with PTSD, even though there's no evidence to suggest a motive at this point. The AP also editorializes that the army has been suffering from high suicide rates because of repeat deployments.

Winds of Change is blogging from on post.

CNN now reports nine dead, and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison was briefed that there were at least 30 injured.

At least 11 killed, plus one gunman. The dead gunman has been identified as Major Malik Nadal Hasan. The major opened fire at around 1:30PM local time, 31 soldiers were wounded. Two other individuals are in custody. Gov. Rick Perry was providing a presser, but his information was out of date.

Hasan's background is starting to emerge. He was a licensed psychiatrist from Silver Spring, Md. There are also reports that he was unhappy about a deployment to Iraq and that he was a recent convert to Islam. However, to focus on his profession, that he was a psychiatrist might jibe with reports mentioning that part of the incident occurred in a traumatic brain injury clinic on base.

The WSJ reports:
Military officials said that Maj. Hasan was a psychiatrist who had been recently promoted to major and transferred to Fort Hood from Washington's Walter Reed Medical Center. Maj. Hasan's professional specialties included post-traumatic stress disorder, combat stress and other emotional issues common to the troops implicated in earlier incidents of military fratricide.

A defense official said that there "were some signs that this might be an Akbar-type event," a reference to a bloody incident in early 2003 when Army Sgt. Hasan Akbar threw grenades into tents occupied by fellow members of the 101st Airborne Division.

Two officers were killed in the 2003 attack in Kuwait, which wounded 14 others. Military prosecutors said that Sgt. Akbar, who was ultimately sentenced to death, was motivated by anger at the deaths of Iraqi civilians at the hands of U.S. troops.

Other shooting incidents have been linked to combat stress and and emotional problems many soldiers are suffering after long, repeat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. With the military stretched thin by the long wars, many troops have done three and in some cases four tours to the war zones.
There's no word on whether Hasan had actually served overseas. There are also conflicting reports over whether two other people remain in custody.

Contradictory and conflicting evidence. Hasan was recently promoted, despite the fact that officials were following Hasan's online postings in light of the following:
Federal law enforcement officials say the suspected Fort Hood, Texas, shooter had come to their attention at least six months ago because of Internet postings that discussed suicide bombings and other threats.

The officials say the postings appeared to have been made by Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who was killed during the shooting incident that left least 11 others dead and 31 wounded. The officials say they are still trying to confirm that he was the author. They say an official investigation was not opened.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case.

One of the Web postings that authorities reviewed is a blog that equates suicide bombers with a soldier throwing himself on a grenade to save the lives of his comrades.
Why would someone who was under investigation in the manner alleged above be granted a promotion that puts him in line to possibly be called upon to deploy to Iraq? Moreover, why was he promoted if he got a poor performance review? Would not a discharge have been more appropriate than a promotion?

The other two individuals who were detained by law enforcement were released.

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