FORT HOOD, Texas — Before the shooting rampage began, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan was sitting quietly among the soldiers going through medical preparations for deployment.
He then stood up and reportedly shouted “Allahu Akbar!” — Arabic for “God is great!” — before revealing his weapons and beginning to fire, according to Chuck Medley, Fort Hood’s director of emergency services. The first 911 call came at 1:23 p.m. Four minutes later, Hasan was down.
The buildings that comprised the Soldier Family Readiness Center sit on top of a hill. Civilian police officer Sgt. Kimberly Munley, who was nearby doing routine daily maintenance on her patrol car when the gunshots rang out, was able to approach the scene using one of the buildings as cover.
Munley moved around the corner and saw a wounded soldier running toward her — away from Hasan, whose gun was trained on him again. Munley fired two shots.
Hasan wasn’t hit.
He spun and turned his attention to Munley. He shot her in the wrist and arm and she fell backward.
“Then it became a close-quarters battle,” Medley said.
Hasan charged, firing all the way, and Munley returned fire from the ground. Mark Todd, another civilian officer, rushed up the hill and began firing at Hasan. Both he and Munley connected.
One of the soldiers nearby at the time was a medic. He ran to his car, grabbed his medical bag, came back to the scene and began treating the wounded.
“He didn’t know who was who,” Brig. Gen. Will Grimsley said.
The medic went from wounded soldier to wounded soldier, doing whatever could be done. Hasan was one of the soldiers treated by the medic.
He didn’t find out until much later that he had worked to save the life of the alleged shooter, Grimsley said.
Investigators as of Saturday afternoon so far have interviewed 120 witnesses, and they still have more than 100 to interview.
One of those witnesses, Grimsley said, was a wounded specialist from Wisconsin who insisted that he be taken out to see the ramp ceremony where the bodies of the fallen soldiers were loaded onto a plane to be flown to Dover Air Force Base, Del. He was rolled out on a wheeled office chair. Each time a fallen soldier was brought past, he stood up on his crutches to pay his respects.
“Never in my 20-plus years in the Army would I have thought I’d attend a ramp ceremony at my home station,” Grimsley said. A post-wide memorial service is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday.