Investigators Search For Clues In Fort Hood Shootings

Mourners stand in front of a memorial honoring Fort Hood shooting victims i i

hide captionMourners on Sunday stand in front of a memorial at Central Christian Church in Killeen, Texas, honoring the dead and wounded from Thursday's mass shooting at Fort Hood.

Tony Gutierrez/AP
Mourners stand in front of a memorial honoring Fort Hood shooting victims

Mourners on Sunday stand in front of a memorial at Central Christian Church in Killeen, Texas, honoring the dead and wounded from Thursday's mass shooting at Fort Hood.

Tony Gutierrez/AP

Investigators continued their search for clues Sunday into what prompted Army Maj. Nidal Hasan's alleged rampage at Fort Hood last week, and what role if any his Muslim faith and his intensifying anti-war sentiment may have played in the tragedy.

Meanwhile, President Obama and top Army Gen. George Casey both cautioned against a backlash toward Muslims in the military.

"What happened at Fort Hood was a tragedy," Casey said during an interview with ABC News that aired Sunday. "But I believe it would be an even greater tragedy if our diversity becomes a casualty here."

In Depth

Obama, who will visit the Texas military post on Tuesday to honor the 13 dead victims and the 30 wounded, used his weekend radio address to characterize the shooting spree as "a crime against our nation."

But he earlier urged people to resist "jumping to conclusions" about the motives behind the shootings.

Alleged Shooter In Stable Condition

Hasan, 39, was wounded by police officers after he allegedly fired more than 100 rounds from two nonmilitary handguns. He was in stable condition and breathing on his own Sunday in the intensive care unit at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, according to Fort Hood spokesman Col. John Rossi.

Sixteen of the people wounded in the attack also remained hospitalized, Rossi said, seven of them in intensive care units.

During a Sunday news conference, Rossi encouraged military personnel to seek help for stress related to the shooting and reported that additional child psychology experts were on their way to Fort Hood.

The American-born Hasan is an Army-trained psychiatrist, who was scheduled for deployment to Afghanistan this month. It was to have been his first deployment.

Congressional Investigation

But even as Casey made the Sunday morning talk show rounds to tamp down rhetoric surrounding the shooting, Sen. Joseph Lieberman announced that he plans to launch a congressional investigation into the massacre.

Lieberman, a Connecticut independent who chairs the Senate's Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said during an interview on Fox News that the attack could be a "terrorist act."

There were "strong warning signs," Lieberman said, that Hasan was an "Islamic extremist" who exhibited questionable behavior the Army should have recognized.

But Casey, appearing on NBC's Meet the Press, said, "Right now, it is way too soon to be drawing any conclusions about [Hasan's] motivations."

Investigators, who have interviewed more than 170 witnesses, have determined that only one gunman was involved in Thursday's attack at Fort Hood's Soldier Readiness Processing Center. But they have not confirmed reports that Hasan shouted "Allahu akbar," Arabic for "God is great," before the shooting.

Hasan has not been charged in the attack.

'Anti-American' Rants Prompted Complaints

A former colleague of Hasan's told The Associated Press this weekend that the Virginia Tech graduate's "anti-American" rants prompted him to complain to administrators at the military university they both attended between 2007 and 2008.

Dr. Val Finnell said that while he and Hasan were in the master's program in public health at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Maryland, Hasan also complained about anti-Muslim sentiment in the military.

"I had real questions about what his priorities were, what his beliefs were," Finnell said.

Hasan's brother this weekend released a statement saying that the family was in a state of shock, and knew Nidal Hasan as a "peaceful, loving and compassionate" person.

The president has ordered that flags at the White House and other federal buildings fly at half-staff until Wednesday, Veterans Day.

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.

Support comes from: