November 5, 2009
Fort Hood, Texas
Major Nidal Hasan fires on a group of military personnel in a processing center receiving treatment immediately before deploying or upon returning from deployment, killing 13 and wounding 32
Hasan, an Army major with a degree in psychiatry, entered the Soldier Readiness Processing Center armed with two weapons described as “civilian” handguns. During the shooting, 13 were killed including a civilian physician assistant and a pregnant woman.
Several of those present retaliated against Hasan during the attack and were either killed or wounded in the process. According to witness testimony during Hassan’s trial, he passed up “several opportunities” to fire upon civilians, instead targeting those in uniform. The civilian casualty, Michael Cahill, was an exception, possibly because he had picked a chair up by its legs to attack Hasan. Cahill was shot before he could strike.
Hasan left the processing center as two civilian police officers arrived on the scene. A small firefight broke out between Hasan, Kimberly Munley, and Mark Todd. Munley was shot in the hand, thigh, and knee before Todd fired five shots at Hasan and handcuffs him. Though he survived, Hasan was left paralyzed from the waist down. Hasan was convicted of 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder, and sentenced to death in 2013.
After the murders, investigators found Hasan had previously been in contact with al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki regarding the attack and had been advised to yell “Allah Akbar” (“God is greatest,” an Arabic phrase used in prayer by those of the Muslim faith and by Islamic extremists before committing terroristic acts) in an effort to incite fear. The United States Department of Defense has not classified the shooting as terrorism at this time, classifying it as “workplace violence” instead. The reason behind this decision is due to the Uniform Code of Military Justice which does not have a punitive article for terrorism, and it was feared Hasan may be released on a technicality should prosecutors pursue a terrorism charge.
- “Fort Hood gunman is sentenced to death.” The Daily Oklahoman [Oklahoma City, Oklahoma]. August 29, 2013
- Breed, Allen G. and Plushnick-Ramit. “Terror act or workplace violence? Hasan trial raises sensitive issue.” Associated Press. August 11, 2013
- Crabtree, Susan. “Fort Hood victims see similarities to Benghazi.” The Washington Times [Washington, DC]. October 18, 2012
- Zucchino, David. “Police officers describe Fort Hood gunfight.” Los Angeles Times [Los Angeles, California]. October 21, 2010
- “Testimony Begins In Fort Hood Shooting.” NPR. October 13, 2010. Accessed: November 5, 2018. https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130543304
- McFadden, Robert D. “Army psychiatrist accused of killings was about to be sent overseas.” Wisconsin State Journal [Madison, Wisconsin]. November 6, 2009