Updated: Friday, 06 Nov 2009, 10:48 AM CST
Published : Thursday, 05 Nov 2009, 2:16 PM CST
KILLEEN, Texas (KXAN/AP/MSNBC) - Some 13 died and another 30 were hurt in a mass shooting on Fort Hood that stunned the nation on Thursday.
Accused gunman Maj. Malik Nidal Hasan is alive and in stable condition, Lt. Gen. Bob Cone said at a Thursday evening news conference just outside the storied military post - the largest in the United States.
(Ed. note: Some videos attached to this story were filmed while Hasan was still believed dead.)
Counter to initial reports, the 39-year-old psychiatrist - who was thought to be killed by local police - is hospitalized and not expected to die of multiple gunshots wounds sustained during the 1:30 p.m. attack. The local police officer who allegedly shot Hasan and injured him is in the hospital also in stable condition.
Cone also told reporters that Hasan was carrying one handgun and one semi-automatic weapon. But the fact that there were so many injured, apparently by one man, "counter-intuitively is concern," Cone said - spurring officials to continue their investigation to make sure they haven't missed any other shooters.
"We secure[d] those buildings, question[ed] the individuals, questioned over 100 people at the scene that leads us to believe right now that it's a single shooter," said Lt. Gen. Cone.
Hasan was about to be deployed to Iraq and was "upset about it," according to Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Hutchison was hesitant to speculate about the motive of the shooting.
A source inside of Ft. Hood told KXAN Austin News that Major Malik Nidal Hasan was working at the Department of Psychiatry at Darnall Army Hospital and was a licensed psychiatrist. There were preliminary reports regarding multiple shooters, however Ft. Hood officials said Hasan was acting alone.
President Obama was briefed on the situation on his way to another event. He spoke at that event in response to the shootings.
"These are men and women who have made the selfless and courageous decision to risk and at times give their lives to protect the rest of us on a daily basis," said President Obama. "It's difficult enough when we lose these brave Americans in battles overseas. It is horrifying that they should come under fire at an Army base on American soil."
Police questioned two soldiers, who were apprehended at the Soldier Readiness Processing Center. Witnesses saw people exiting the scene and entering other buildings, which led to the questioning of these soldiers. They were later released after the police were done interrogating them. The shooter was wearing his uniform. Hasan had a handgun and semi-automatic weapon. As a general policy, no one is allowed to have guns on the post, according to Lt. General Bob Cone with Ft. Hood.
The shootings took place inside the Howze Theater and at the Soldiers Readiness Processing Center - which used to be an sports-dome complex. To fully understand the location of these buildings, look at this map. Ft. Hood is the largest military post in the world, with at least 40,000 soldiers.
Ft. Hood was on lockdown, but that was lifted at 6:50 p.m. Units at the post have been ordered to account for all personnel. Both school districts near the post - Temple ISD and Belton ISD - were on lockdown, but that was lifted at 6:45 p.m. Students will not be allowed to walk home or ride a bus, however. Five Marble Falls High School students -all juniors -were at Ft. Hood Thursday during the shooting. They were at the post during a Noon Rotary Club's Job Shadowing program. They were on lockdown during the incident, but returned safely to their parents at 9:45 p.m.
"No children located at Ft. Hood schools are being released to parents," said Leslie Gilmore, public information officer with Killeen ISD. "Students who would normally be transported from an off-post school to Ft. Hood are being held on their off-post campuses."
Emergency sirens rang out twice, warning soldiers to stay in their homes for safety. A Ft. Hood family hotline was set up at (254) 288-7570 or (866) 836-2751.
At 3:50 p.m., 500 armed soldiers were sweeping the area, to make sure everyone is safe. Ft. Hood officials are requesting assistance from the FBI to look into the background of the soldiers to see if we can find out anything. Sen. Hutchison said they are searching room by room to make sure everyone is safe. According to Texas Governor Rick Perry, the Texas Rangers will also assisted the Military CID and FBI in the investigation of the shooting.
According to an inside source, one soldier felt it necessary to call his kids and parents just in case "he doesn't come home" during the shooting. The same source said "bullets [were] flying everywhere." Another source inside of the post said they walked out of the dentist's office after getting their wisdom teeth removed and say "three people [run] by [him] bloody."
Watch the raw footage of the scene:
President Obama commented on the horrific events at Ft. Hood Thursday afternoon.
"As some of you might have heard, there has been a tragic shooting at the Fort Hood Army base in Texas," said President Obama. "We don't yet know all the details at this moment; we will share them as we get them. What we do know is that a number of American soldiers have been killed, and even more have been wounded in a horrific outburst of violence. My immediate thoughts and prayers are with the wounded and with the families of the fallen, and with those who live and serve at Fort Hood."
"We are watching this terrible tragedy unfold," said Colonel William Meehan at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas. "Our hearts and sympathies are with the soldiers and their families at Fort Hood."
Scott & White Memorial Hospital received nine gunshot victims from Fort Hood. All patients are reported to be adults.
Thursday afternoon, Seton Medical Center in Round Rock, Texas received two victims, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. A helicopter flew them to the hospital Emergency Director Dr. Brian Aldred said he did not know if the two men were soldiers. One man was in critical condition with multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and abdomen, but was upgraded to serious condition after he came out of emergency surgery at 6:30 p.m. The other man was in serious condition with gunshot wounds to the arm and chest, but doctors upgraded him to good condition and hospital officials expect him to leave the hospital Thursday night.
Scott & White Hospital in Temple said they are in "urgent need for blood donations" in response to the wounded. "Please come to Scott & White Blood Donor Center and donate blood as soon as possible, we are located in Room 115 next the McLane Dining Room in the main hospital. We are open today until at least 7 p.m. and you can contact us at (254) 724-4376 if you need any assistance on determining your eligibility to donate. " They want all potential donors to donate at a local blood bank.
"We are stunned and we are saddened," said Gonda Moncada, a Sergeant with Camp Mabry.
Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison released a statement on the shootings:
"I am shocked and saddened by today’s outburst of violence at Fort Hood that has cost seven of our brave service members their lives and has gravely injured others. My heart goes out to their loved ones. Our dedicated military personnel have sacrificed so much in service to our country, and it sickens me that the men and women of Fort Hood have been subjected to this senseless, random violence. I know all Americans share this concern for the soldiers and their families who are affected by this tragedy," said Sen. Hutchison.
Later on, CNN interviewed Sen. Hutchison about the incident.
"[Ft. Hood] is a sprawling facility," said Hutchison. "It's huge and it is a major training base. It's a wonderful base and they have beautiful subdivisions. In fact, they've been in the leadership for best housing for families. They have nine schools. I know they're taking care of these families right now because they have such a great facility to do that. This family will surround these people and do everything possible to ease their pain. It's a tough situation. It's a really sad situation."
When asked what the soldiers were doing in the processing center, Hutchison said "I'm told that they were filling out paper processing to go to Iraq or Afghanistan."
Barbara Star, CNN's Pentagon anchor, was heard saying the situation is "very, very troubling."
Senator Leticia Van de Putte, who is chair of the Texas Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs and Military Installations released a statement regarding the shootings:
"My heart breaks for the soldiers and families who lost their lives and loved ones today at Ft. Hood. To return from the horrors of war, only to find that the nightmare is not over is heart-wrenching. My thoughts and prayers are with those families who lost their loved ones and the soldiers who were injured. As Veterans' Day approaches we should all be especially mindful of the sacrifices made by the men and women who serve in our Armed Forces."
Texas Governor Rick Perry held a press conference after hearing of the Ft. Hood shootings when he was on his way up to Dallas for an event.
"Today's events are just a reminder for all of us about the important relationship we have with our military," said Gov. Perry. "To honor those whose lives have been lost today, I've ordered the flags in our state to fly at half-staff until Sunday. I ask that you keep all these families and individuals in your prayers. This one of those instances where we have the right people on the scene. The incident manager for the Department of Public Safety is there. I may be on site, but not until I am not a distraction at any of the events that are going on there. Installation commanders have taken the appropriate steps to secure the facility. They have in play the type of activities and security precautions that are appropriate."
Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst also had comments on the tragic shooting.
"I ask all Texans to please join me in sending their thoughts and prayers to the victims of this horrible act," said Dewhurst. "This tragedy is a reminder that every member of our U.S. Armed Services is prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for our nation, and in Texas we will do everything we can to continued to support the victims of today's mass shooting, their families and our entire military community."
Sen. John Cornyn released a statement after hearing about the shooting.
"My heart goes out to the victims of the tragedy that occurred today at Fort Hood, as well as their families. Fort Hood is one of our nation's finest and largest military installations, and a place that has long been a source of pride for Texans, and for all Americans who value the selfless service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform. It is imperative that we take the time to gather all the facts, as it would be irresponsible to be the source of rumors or inaccurate information regarding such a horrific event. Once we have ascertained all the facts, working with our military leaders and law enforcement officials on the ground, we can determine what exactly happened at Fort Hood today and how to prevent something like this from ever happening again. We do not yet have these details. My prayers are with the individuals who were killed today, the wounded and their loved ones."
Vice President Joe Biden sent out a statement also.
"Jill and I join the President and Michelle in expressing our sympathies to the families of the brave soldiers who fell today. We are all praying for those who were wounded and hoping for their full and speedy recovery. Our thoughts and prayers are also with the entire Fort Hood community as they deal with this senseless tragedy."
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization said the following:
"We condemn this cowardly attack in the strongest terms possible and ask that the perpetrators be punished to the full extent of the law. No political or religious ideology could ever justify or excuse such wanton and indiscriminate violence. The attack was particularly heinous in that it targeted the all-volunteer army that protects our nation. American Muslims stand with our fellow citizens in offering both prayers for the victims and sincere condolences to the families of those killed or injured."
Prairie View A&M University planned a "March for Peace" at 6 p.m. CST near the university's memorial fountain in response to the shootings. Prairie View is approximately three-and-a-half hours southeast of Killeen.