Thursday, November 5, 2009

Fort Hood shooting: 12 killed as US soldier goes on rampage at Texas army base

A US Army officer, Major Malik Nadal Hasan, has gone on on a shooting spree at a military base in Texas, killing 11 people and wounding more than 30 others before he was shot dead by police.

The army major, armed with two handguns, walked into a training centre and opened fire on fellow soldiers who were having last minute medical check-ups before being deployed to Afghanistan.

Hasan, believed to have been a convert to Islam, was shot dead by police following the massacre at the sprawling Fort Hood base, the largest American military installation in the world. It is not clear if the attack was an act of political terrorism.
Sources said Major Hasan had been due to be deployed to Iraq shortly and was an army psychiatrist. He is believed to have been in his late 30s and from Virginia.

Ten of the victims were soldiers and one was a civilian police officer. Two other injured soldiers were in a “very serious” condition in hospital.

Gun fire later erupted around the base as two alleged accomplices, also US soldiers, were captured and police said there may have been more than one gunman.

One of them had barricaded himself in a traumatic brain injury unit where he was surrounded by SWAT teams. Four police officers were wounded before he was arrested.

More than 500 soldiers were deployed to lock down Fort Hood as helicopters hovered overhead.

Base commander Lieutenant General Bob Cone said: “It has been a terrible tragedy, it’s stunning. We have a terrible, tragic situation here. Soldiers, family members and the civilians that work here are absolutely devastated.

“The shooter was killed. He was a soldier. We since then have apprehended two additional soldiers who are suspects. There were eyewitness accounts that there may have been more than one shooter.”

The shootings took place in the Soldier Readiness Centre, a former sports dome, where soldiers go for final checks before being sent overseas.

As well as soldiers about to be deployed, those returning and undergoing medical screening would have been there.

It happened shortly before a graduation ceremony for soldiers was due to start at the base.

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