Alleged Fort Hood Shooter Nidal Malik Hasan Was 'Calm,' Methodical During Massacre

Alleged gunman Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan is paralyzed from his injuries.

ByABC News via logo
November 5, 2009, 3:35 PM

Nov. 6, 2009 — -- Hundreds of soldiers and personnel from the Fort Hood Army post in Texas gathered at a vigil Friday evening to mourn the victims and offer prayers for the families of Thursday's shooting rampage that left 13 dead and 38 wounded.

The Army's Chief Chaplain, Douglas Carver told the gathering to "remember to keep breathing...keep going," The Associated Press reported.

Earlier Friday, the caskets of 13 victims were loaded on to a C-130 transport plane for a flight to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. Some 300 soldiers in dress uniform watched as the caskets were loaded onto the plane.

Shelia Casey, wife of the Army's top commander Gen. George Casey, attended the ceremony. She told ABC News' Charles Gibson. " It's an important ceremony, very moving, but important, " she said. "Rows and rows of soldiers there to bid farewell."

Gen. George Casey told ABC News' Charles Gibson that the attack at the U.S Army facility was "like a kick in the gut."

The suspect in the shooting, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, was transferred Friday to the Brook Army Medical Center in San Antonio. He is reportedly on a respirator, suffering from paralysis, although he is said to be in stable condition.

At a Friday evening news conference at Fort Hood, Army Col. John Rossi said the suspect fired more than 100 rounds, before being shot by a civilian police officer, Sgt. Kimberly Munley.

Neighbors said Hasan had been giving away his furniture and copies of the Koran over the last week, apparently disposing of his worldly goods, ABC News' Brian Ross reported.

Witnesses to Thursday's massacre at Fort Hood said alleged shooter appeared calm and shouted "Allahu Akbar!" ("God is Great!") before opening fire at a crowd of young soldiers, pausing only to reload before he was taken down by a female officer who is being hailed as a hero.

"It was very deliberate in his approach, they said that he was calm," Lt. Gen. Robert W. Cone, the base commander at Fort Hood, told "Good Morning America" today.

"He was shooting people more than once if he could," said Cone.

The Fort Hood Web site today addressed the tragedy with a line reading "Friday Is Day of Mourning! -- The duty day will begin no earlier than 0900."

Hasan used an FN Herstal 5.7 tactical pistol. The gun was purchased legally in August 2009 at Guns Galore in Killeen, Texas. Some law enforcement officials say the gun packs so much firepower that they call it "the cop killer."

A second gun found was a 357 Magnum Smith and Wesson revolver, but it is not yet clear if Hasan used the weapon during the shooting.

An army videographer who witnessed the shooting likened the event to a wartime battle.

"I felt like I was back in Iraq," specialist Elliot Valdez told ABC News' Terry Moran. "The noise, the chaos. It felt like Iraq."

Valdez was preparing to film graduation ceremonies in the theater when people started running in screaming, "Someone's shooting!" Then, a soldier in dress uniform for the graduation staggered in, shot in the back.

Valdez ran out and saw Hasan on the ground. "I thought he was dead," Valdez said. He did not realize that the man on the ground was the shooter until later. Valdez stayed focused and kept filming.

When asked how he felt about what he saw, Valdez struggled to contain his emotions.

"You see the bodies on the stretchers--that's tough, that's really tough," he said. "But Fort Hood families are strong. We pull together."

Victims of the shooting rushed to help others even before tending to themselves, said Cone.

"A young lady who had been shot in the hip and didn't realize it immediately took care of one of her buddies," said Cone. "She put a tourniquet on a soldier's leg and carried him out of the facility."

"Only after she had gotten her buddy taken care of did she realize that she herself had been shot," said Cone.

President Obama warned early Friday against "jumping to conclusions" regarding the motive for the shooting and ordered flags to be flown at half staff until Veteran's Day, saying that the "entire nation is grieving."

The president said he had met with the FBI chief to discuss the massacre.