A Day After Fort Hood Rampage, Re-Creating Events

As Fort Hood, Texas, takes stock of Thursday's attack, those who lived through it are providing new details about what went on inside the Soldier Readiness Processing Center. Soldiers and others who were there when the gunman — named by the military as Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan — opened fire discuss how the events unfolded.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

And I'm Michele Norris.

It will be weeks, months, maybe longer before we have a complete picture of what took place at Fort Hood yesterday. But some small parts of that picture are starting to become clearer.

SIEGEL: We're going to pull together some of those parts in this part of the program. First: the basics.

NORRIS: The number of dead now stands at 13, with 30 injured. All but three of the wounded are in the hospital and one doctor warns that everyone is not out of the woods.

SIEGEL: One of the injured is the alleged shooter. And there are bits and pieces of information that start to give us an idea of who he is. We'll have more on Major Nidal Malik Hasan in just a few minutes.

NORRIS: First, at Fort Hood, it was a day to recount the attack and its aftermath. The massive post is home to tens of thousands of people - soldiers and civilians.

And as NPR's Jeff Brady reports, each one of them has a story to tell.

JEFF BRADY: It wasn't long before the injured started showing up at the Army Medical Center at Fort Hood. Colonel Kimberly Kesling is the deputy commander for clinical services there.

KIMBERLY KESLING: Initially it was kind of controlled chaos. I mean, the initial casualties came in in people's cars and then ambulances began to come. But my staff was quickly recognized that this was a large event. They mobilized and they did an absolutely superb job caring for these patients. We saved a lot of lives yesterday.

BRADY: And it wasn't just medical personnel who saved lives. This is a place where a lot people know first aid and just about anyone nearby pitched in.

Sergeant Howard Appleby was at the medical center for his regular appointment to see a mental health worker. He suffers from a brain injury and post- traumatic stress disorder. Over in Iraq he says he was injured while riding in a vehicle that ran over an explosive device. Sergeant Appleby says he arrived for his appointment not knowing what had just happened.

HOWARD APPLEBY: She told me, sorry, we can't see you today. We're going to cancel your appointment. Turn around, go back downstairs and I saw all this ambulance coming. At the same time, I just started helping.

BRADY: Appleby says reactions were almost automatic. He and colleagues removed their shirts and used them as bandages. He says it was just like being back in Iraq, where he lost three members of his platoon. But Appleby says this was even worse than war.

APPLEBY: This is more. Because in Iraq, you only see, like, once a day, you know, one guy died today. Tomorrow, another guy died tomorrow, you know? But 12, 13 guys die at one time, yeah, it's crazy.

BRADY: Appleby says yesterday's experience is making it even more difficult to deal with his PTSD. He's experiencing headaches and right now he just doesn't know what to do.

Around Fort Hood today, a lot of attention is turned to one woman who's been called a hero. Her name is Sergeant Kimberly Munley. She's a civilian police officer employed by the Army. Post Commander Lieutenant General Robert Cone told CNN she was directing traffic nearby when the shots began.

ROBERT CONE: Her and her partner responded very quickly. And in this relatively short response time, we think it was somewhere around three minutes, is what's been reported to me, just happened to encounter the gunman and she, in an exchange of gunfire, she was wounded, but wounded the shooter four times.

BRADY: Munley's boss is Chuck Medley. He supervises police and fire services on the post. He told reporters that Sergeant Munley saw the gunman pursuing someone who was injured. She shot at him, diverting his attention.

CHUCK MEDLEY: Yeah, but he turned and charged her...

BRADY: Right.

MEDLEY: ...rapidly firing and she did what she was trained to do. She saved people's lives and that was the situation.

BRADY: Medley said Sergeant Munley's condition has stabilized, and she's expected to make a full recovery.

MEDLEY: She's got some wounds, and she lost some blood and she was weak. But she's quite an exceptional individual. And she was the most upbeat injured person, significantly injured person I think I've ever seen last night. So...

BRADY: Talked to just a few people at Fort Hood today and it becomes clear, folks here don't want to spend much time talking about the gunman. Instead, they want to focus on the heroic stories.

Post Commander Robert Cone relayed one about an unnamed woman who jumped in to help take care of soldiers who'd been shot, only to realize later that she'd been shot herself in the hip.

Jeff Brady, NPR News, Fort Hood, Texas.

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