Details Emerge Of Fort Hood Shooter
A: Major Nidal Malik Hasan, a psychiatrist. What more do we know about him?
TOM GJELTEN: Robert, he was actually born in the United States. He was, as you say, a doctor. The Army trained him. He served in the Army's Medical Service Corps as a psychiatrist, as you say. He trained, actually, at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. He later served at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and then he was posted to Fort Hood.
And sadly, Robert, he was a specialist in dealing with combat stress. He apparently completed a fellowship earlier this year in disaster and preventive psychiatry at the Center for Traumatic Stress there in Bethesda. You can only imagine what war stories he heard in that capacity and how those must've affected him.
: Heard, because until now he had not been deployed, actually.
GJELTEN: He hadn't been deployed. He was due to - we understand he was due to be deployed soon, within the next few months to Iraq and that he was very unhappy about that. He apparently had complained to fellow officers, fellow soldiers about this. We don't know if that was part of his motivation or not, but it is something, you know, it's a piece of the puzzle that we're trying to put together.
: Had actually retained a military lawyer, I gather, to try to either avoid the deployment or possibly, as his cousin told one cable channel today, possibly to negotiate his retirement from the armed forces if need be. Anything else about his career that we found out?
GJELTEN: Well, interestingly, Robert, our colleague Joe Shapiro spoke to someone who worked with Major Hasan at that Uniformed Services University, and he told Joe that Hasan was disciplined there in 2004 for proselytizing about his Muslim faith with patients and with colleagues. Now, officials at the university put him on probation, but they then decided or felt that he had stopped whatever he was doing that was objectionable. The matter was dropped.
Now, we've also heard more recently unconfirmed reports that Hasan had come to the attention of law enforcement officials because of some Internet postings that discussed suicide bombings. It's not at all clear that he was actually the author of those postings, but that's the suspicion and of course that would obviously be relevant.
: Now, as for more information about Major Hasan and about what happened today, we've been waiting for a news conference at Fort Hood, I think for about three hours. And obviously great preparations are going into holding this news conference, or else there are things we don't know that are happening. But first question, at the outset, Lieutenant General Cone told everyone early in the afternoon about Major Hasan, who was shot, and then two other soldiers who were detained.
GJELTEN: Robert, that is the really key unanswered question here because that - when we know the answer to whether other people were involved in this shooting or not, we will know whether it's the act of a lone individual or whether there was some kind of plan here. Yes, General Cone said two other individuals were taken into custody. We have heard since from multiple sources, including our own, that those two have subsequently been released, but that a third soldier is in custody at this moment.
No confirmation, no, not necessarily any implication that he was also a shooter. As Wade said earlier, there are these questions of whether one individual could've shot as many people as Major Hasan allegedly did. But we don't have any official word that this third individual was, in fact, also a shooter.
: And we don't know, frankly, how much gunfire there was from the shooter and from law enforcement, what kind of space it was and whether indeed all the gunfire that people heard or all the gunfire that actually injured people was from the shooter or possibly some of it was accidental.
GJELTEN: That's right.
: ...we just don't know that. We heard Wade Goodwyn talking about Fort Hood. Fort Hood I've seen described as the biggest U.S. military base in the world.
GJELTEN: It is, Robert, and there's probably no military post in the United States that is more intimately familiar with the reality of going to war than the families at Fort Hood. Four combat brigades are based there, also the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. And Robert, they know death at Fort Hood. They know soldiers and their families have been to a lot of funerals. 514 soldiers from Fort Hood have died in Iraq or Afghanistan.
: And today at least 12 people died at Fort Hood itself in Texas in today's shooting.
Tom Gjelten, thanks.
GJELTEN: Thank you, Robert.
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