Recalling The Chaos Of The Fort Hood Shooting

  • Mourners attend the memorial service Tuesday in honor of 13 victims of the shooting rampage in Fort Hood, Texas.
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    Mourners attend the memorial service Tuesday in honor of 13 victims of the shooting rampage in Fort Hood, Texas.
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  • During the memorial service, President Obama named each of the 13 who died and shared personal stories about them and their families with the crowd of about 15,000.
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    During the memorial service, President Obama named each of the 13 who died and shared personal stories about them and their families with the crowd of about 15,000.
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  • Kolleen Alldridge (from left), Gavyn Alldridge, Kim Rosenthal and Alice Thompson light candles Saturday at a small memorial in the courtyard of the apartment complex where Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan lived prior to the Fort Hood shooting.
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    Kolleen Alldridge (from left), Gavyn Alldridge, Kim Rosenthal and Alice Thompson light candles Saturday at a small memorial in the courtyard of the apartment complex where Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan lived prior to the Fort Hood shooting.
    Joe Raedle/Getty Images/
  • Soldiers bow their heads in prayer during a vigil at Fort Hood on Friday.
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    Soldiers bow their heads in prayer during a vigil at Fort Hood on Friday.
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  • Some of the first responders to the mass shooting at Fort Hood gather to give interviews Friday morning. Thirteen people were killed and 30 were injured in Thursday's shooting.
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    Some of the first responders to the mass shooting at Fort Hood gather to give interviews Friday morning. Thirteen people were killed and 30 were injured in Thursday's shooting.
    Joe Raedle/Getty Images/
  • A frame grab from a security video shows suspected shooter Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan in a convenience store in Killeen, Texas, early Thursday morning, before the attack. Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, was unconscious and on a ventilator Friday, contrary to early reports that he had been killed.
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    A frame grab from a security video shows suspected shooter Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan in a convenience store in Killeen, Texas, early Thursday morning, before the attack. Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, was unconscious and on a ventilator Friday, contrary to early reports that he had been killed.
    CNN via AP
  • Patricia Villa, next-door neighbor to Hasan, stands in her apartment doorway in Killeen. A day before Hasan allegedly went on a shooting spree at the Fort Hood Army Base, he gave Villa furniture, clothing and a copy of the Quran.
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    Patricia Villa, next-door neighbor to Hasan, stands in her apartment doorway in Killeen. A day before Hasan allegedly went on a shooting spree at the Fort Hood Army Base, he gave Villa furniture, clothing and a copy of the Quran.
    Jack Plunkett/AP/
  • Federal agents search Hasan's apartment in Killeen early Friday. Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, was unconscious and on a ventilator Friday, contrary to early reports that he had been killed.
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    Federal agents search Hasan's apartment in Killeen early Friday. Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, was unconscious and on a ventilator Friday, contrary to early reports that he had been killed.
    LM Otero/AP/
  • This 2007 picture shows Nidal Malik Hasan, the suspected shooter, when he entered the program for his Disaster and Military Psychiatry Fellowship.
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    This 2007 picture shows Nidal Malik Hasan, the suspected shooter, when he entered the program for his Disaster and Military Psychiatry Fellowship.
    Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences/AP/
  • Jamie Casteel and her husband, Scotty, of Duncan, Okla., wait to hear news about their son-in-law Thursday outside the Scott and White Hospital emergency room in Temple, Texas.
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    Jamie Casteel and her husband, Scotty, of Duncan, Okla., wait to hear news about their son-in-law Thursday outside the Scott and White Hospital emergency room in Temple, Texas.
    Tony Gutierrez/AP/
  • Daniel Clark kisses his wife, Rachel Clark, while they wait for Fort Hood to reopen after Thursday's shooting so they can pick up their 5-year-old child at a day care center.
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    Daniel Clark kisses his wife, Rachel Clark, while they wait for Fort Hood to reopen after Thursday's shooting so they can pick up their 5-year-old child at a day care center.
    Michael Thomas/AP/
  • Monica Cain, 44, tries to get in touch with her husband, Sgt. Darren Cain, who is stationed at Fort Hood.
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    Monica Cain, 44, tries to get in touch with her husband, Sgt. Darren Cain, who is stationed at Fort Hood.
    Jerry Larson/Waco Tribune Herald via AP/
  • Sgt. Fanuaee Vea (center) embraces Pvt. Savannah Green outside the base.
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    Sgt. Fanuaee Vea (center) embraces Pvt. Savannah Green outside the base.
    Ben Sklar/Getty Images/
  • An ambulance passes the main gate at Fort Hood following the shooting.
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    An ambulance passes the main gate at Fort Hood following the shooting.
    Jerry Larson/Waco Tribune Herald via AP/
  • A SWAT team enters the main gate at Fort Hood. The shooting occurred at the Soldier Readiness Center, where troops deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan receive last-minute medical checkups.
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    A SWAT team enters the main gate at Fort Hood. The shooting occurred at the Soldier Readiness Center, where troops deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan receive last-minute medical checkups.
    Jerry Larson/Waco Tribune Herald via AP/

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Staff Sgt. Paul Martin was in the Soldier Readiness Center at Fort Hood, Texas, waiting to receive a final medical checkup before shipping out to Iraq. That's when another soldier, allegedly Maj. Nidal Hasan, jumped on a table and opened fire with a semiautomatic handgun.

Martin grew up in Adel, Ga., playing basketball and avoiding classwork as much as possible. He had no intention of joining the Army, but his cousin wanted to. The two of them talked about it while playing basketball one afternoon.

Martin said he was initially reluctant to join, but once in, he was enthusiastic.

"After I got in, I just loved it, and I just became a soldier," he says. "It's the discipline. I'm always on time where I need to be, and I just love it."

'Golly, This Hurts'

Twenty-seven blissful years of Army life later, Martin was at the Soldier Readiness Center last Thursday, getting his final check before deploying to Iraq. He says the first moment he knew something was wrong was when he felt a sudden sharp pain in his arm.

"When it hit me in my arm, I grabbed my arm and I realized, I ain't never been hit that hard," he says. "I said, 'Golly, this hurts.'

"And then I looked at my hand, my hand was just covered in blood, but I was laying on the floor, and the floor was covered with blood, and in my mind I said, 'I got to get out of this building.' "

Martin won't talk about the alleged gunman. The Army is concerned that anything the wounded or witnesses might say regarding the shooter's actions, which resulted in 13 deaths, could compromise the prosecution. But Martin was allowed to talk about what happened to him, and he says that in the span of a few seconds, the Readiness Center erupted into chaos.

A soldier cries at a memorial service at Fort Hood, Texas, for the victims of the shootings there. i i

A soldier cries at a memorial service at Fort Hood, Texas, for the victims of the shootings at the Army post. Jay Janner/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Jay Janner/AP
A soldier cries at a memorial service at Fort Hood, Texas, for the victims of the shootings there.

A soldier cries at a memorial service at Fort Hood, Texas, for the victims of the shootings at the Army post.

Jay Janner/AP

He said it sounded like "a cannon going off."

Shot Several Times

There are reports that as the gunman began to methodically choose and kill his victims, some soldiers fought back by throwing chairs and tables at him. More than 100 rounds were fired, and people were getting shot, some fatally, every few seconds. Martin decided to make a run for the door, but that was a mistake. He stood up and sprinted, but the gunman saw him, aimed and shot him in the back.

He said he hit the floor and began low-crawling to get out of the building.

Martin was hit twice more: in his back and leg. The wound through his midsection was the most serious, but though he was bleeding badly, he was still conscious.

"I ... remember the way I came in there, and I was trying to remember the way ... I was trying to get out," Martin says. "My mind was, 'Get out of this building, and we'll work out everything else later.' "

Escape

The staff sergeant's training kicked in, and he Army-crawled on his knees and elbows, adrenaline coursing through his veins, a blood trail on the floor behind him. He managed to crawl behind a partition near the door and, astonishingly, despite his wounds, he got to his feet and ran for the glass doors again. This time he made it outside.

An unimaginable scene of horror still played out behind him, but coming toward him was a much happier sight: the U.S. Army running to the rescue as fast as their feet could carry them. Soldiers grabbed the obviously wounded sergeant, pulled him to a place out of the line of fire, laid him down on the grass and began to administer first aid.

"I had a bullet wound in my arm, my leg, and some hit me in my back," Martin says. "They say I was shot four times."

Two surgeries later, Martin has staples in his stomach and stitches in his back, and a vein from his leg has been moved to his arm. Incredibly, he still plans to join his unit in Iraq once he's fully recovered and promises that will be sooner than everyone thinks. The boy from Adel who had no intention of joining the military says he loves his Army life.

"They don't care about where you're from, how big your town is, how much money you got, none of that. ... Everybody's on the same level, no matter who you are," Martin says.

By the end of the day Wednesday, Martin was demonstrating just how gung-ho he is — moving out of the hospital and into the Fisher Recovery House across the street.

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