Latest On Suspected Fort Hood Shooter

A gunman in Fort Hood, Texas, killed 11 people and wounded 31 others. The gunman was identified as Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, a mental health professional. He too was killed. Another soldier is in custody.

Copyright © 2009 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.

ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

The latest, now, on the shootings at Fort Hood, Texas. Lieutenant General Bob Cone delivered this updated from Fort Hood.

NORRIS: The investigation is ongoing, but preliminary reports indicate there was a single shooter that was shot multiple times at the scene. However, he was not killed as previously reported. He is currently in custody and in stable condition. I say again, the shooter is not dead, but in custody and in stable condition.

SIEGEL: And with that, General Cone reversed what he had said earlier in the day. He was the source of the information that an Army psychiatrist, Major Nidal Malik Hasan was the shooter and indeed was also killed. At least 12 people are confirmed dead and 31 wounded.

And joining us now is Dina Temple-Raston. Dina, what's the latest?

DINA TEMPLE: Well, the latest, as you heard, it turns out that the shooter is alive and we've been thinking for some time that, in fact, he had been killed. Apparently what we have in terms of details about this now, from General Cone, was that Major Hasan had two handguns. And he began opening fire in this processing center outside a theater where this sort of graduation ceremony was about to begin.

And there was a thought that there was more than one shooter because he got so many shots off and was able to injure so many people with essentially two handguns. And the general wouldn't discuss Major Hasan very much. But we're hearing from law enforcement sources that there were some postings and some Internet chat rooms related to suicide bombings that authorities believe were written by Major Hasan. Now, it isn't clear yet whether he really was the author. But this is one of the avenues that they're starting to pursue.

SIEGEL: And earlier in the day, Leiutenant General Cone said that two other soldiers had been detained. They have since been released. And he's concluded that there was only one gunman here.

TEMPLE: Indeed. That's what it looks like. These - apparently these two soldiers were leaving the scene and that's why that they were collared, but they have since been cleared. So the general was very focused on saying that this didn't appear to be a terrorist attack and that this was only one shooter. But a pretty big change in the story from what we've been reporting.

SIEGEL: Now, he would not say anything about Major Hasan. But he did confirm that Major Hasan was the shooter. What do we know about him?

TEMPLE: Well, we know that Major Hasan had trained in the Army's Medical Services Corps as a psychiatrist. And he'd been at Walter Reed Army Medical Center for six years. He had transferred to Fort Hood in July. And apparently he had received a poor performance evaluation at Walter Reed. We were told by someone who worked with Major Hasan in Bethesda, this is in Maryland, that apparently he'd been disciplined in 2004 for trying to proselytize about the Muslim faith. And it's unclear whether that was linked to his poor review.

We also understand that he was going to be deployed soon and we're not quite sure if it was Iraq or Afghanistan. But we know that he didn't want to go. We know this because apparently he had hired a Army lawyer to try and reverse this deployment action.

SIEGEL: Also, in so far as that 2004 discipline is concerned, earlier this year he was promoted from captain to major. So, clearly the Army was no longer that concerned about his conduct. Do we have any idea why he opened fire?

TEMPLE: We don't know for sure, and the general wouldn't address that. Although, a little something that he said that was meaningful was that the shooter is in stable condition, but apparently he isn't talking to investigators and they're trying to question him and he's refusing to talk.

Y: We don't know if that's why he opened fire. And it's too uncertain to know exactly what's going on. The investigation is continuing. Authorities have said, again, to stress that this involved a U.S. soldier and they don't think that this is an act of terrorism.

SIEGEL: Thank you, Dina.

TEMPLE: You're welcome.

SIEGEL: That's NPR's Dina Temple-Raston speaking with us about today's shootings at Fort Hood, Texas.

Copyright © 2009 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.