Investigators Probe Fort Hood Shooting
MICHELE NORRIS, Host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.
ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:
And I'm Robert Siegel.
We're going to begin this hour at Fort Hood, Texas, the site of yesterday's horrific shootings. We're learning more about the toll of that attack - now 13 dead and 30 wounded - and more about the suspected gunman, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, an Army psychiatrist. The Army's top leaders are at Fort Hood today checking on the investigation and praising yesterday's response by emergency crews and soldiers. This is Army Chief of Staff General George Casey.
GEORGE CASEY: I heard stories about medics, who were sitting in a graduation in a building next door, hearing the gunfire, and running to the sounds of the guns because they knew they would be wounded - in their caps and gowns. I talked to a young private who was sitting in his pickup truck in the parking lot, who heard gunshots - went back after his buddies.
SIEGEL: That's General George Casey speaking earlier today and NPR's Wade Goodwyn is at Fort Hood. Hi, Wade.
WADE GOODWYN: Hello.
SIEGEL: We just heard General Casey talking about the soldiers' reaction to the shooting. What more do we know about what actually happened inside the Soldier Readiness Center?
GOODWYN: Well, today was a day for recounting the heroism of the soldiers and the officers at Fort Hood. You can believe that nothing makes prouder than men and women running towards the firefight to engage the enemy and assist their other fellow soldiers. And there was plenty of that yesterday. We heard about young medics who were there for their graduation, hearing gunfire, and taking off toward the sound of the shots. The military police engaging the shooter and taking him down.
And then just your regular GI, you know, running up there, tearing off their uniforms, dressing the fallen's wounds in the field, putting the wounded in the back of trucks and flying them to the hospital down the road. I think without the battlefield training the death count would have been higher.
SIEGEL: Let's talk about the suspect - lots of little pieces of information about Major Hasan.
GOODWYN: Yeah. Over the last 24 hours we've begun to get a picture of Major Hasan. The latest news is that the major had cleaned out his apartment in preparation for being deployed. According to AP, he tried to give some of his stuff to his neighbors, including a holy book. Those who knew the major - know the major say he was unhappy about this upcoming deployment. He was a psychiatrist, so he'd seen first hand the psychological trauma. And as a Muslim, he seems to have been concerned about America waging war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I think he felt isolated at Fort Hood, which is the major deployment post. And, you know, having his political views may have been one thing at Walter Reed, but Fort Hood is about soldiers preparing to fight. They're not going to be too sympathetic to arguments about why this whole endeavor is a bad idea for America. So, I think, Hasan was isolated and as we've seen in multiple school shootings, social isolation in boys and men can be a trigger to violence.
SIEGEL: Now, there were quite a few questions today for the Army leaders about stress on soldiers, on the Army as a whole. What did the Army brass have to say about that?
GOODWYN: Well, there, you know - the question is are the Army programs sufficient to identify and stop soldiers who are a threat to themselves and their fellow soldiers. Secretary McHugh even spoke to that.
JOHN MCHUGH: We have a suspect. We have terrible crimes that have been alleged. We have to understand what caused that suspect to act in the way in which he did and then derive back from that programs that can make a difference and hopefully alleviate the opportunity for that occurring in the future.
GOODWYN: So I think the investigation is going to teach the direction of where they go from here.
SIEGEL: Thank you, Wade.
GOODWYN: My pleasure.
SIEGEL: It's NPR's Wade Goodwyn speaking to us from Fort Hood. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
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