Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Psychiatrist Major Who Killed 13 at US Base Was FBI Suspect

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Psychiatrist Major Who Killed 13 at US Base Was FBI Suspect

Article excerpt

Byline: David Gardner

THE army psychiatrist who shot dead 13 people at America's biggest military base was under investigation by the FBI for expressing sympathy for terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan, it emerged today.

The inquiry was launched six months ago after worried colleagues of the killer, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, alerted the authorities to his anti-American outbursts.

The major, a devout Muslim, opened fire with two handguns at Fort Hood in Texas. The victims, all but two of them soldiers, were cut down inside a crowded medical processing centre for servicemen and women about to be sent to Iraq and Afghanistan. Soldiers ripped off their uniforms to use as makeshift bandages. Military officials refused to rule out the possibility that some casualties may have been victims of "friendly fire", shot by authorities amid the mayhem and confusion at the scene.

Some victims were women. Lisa Pfund, the mother of a 19-year-old soldier, Amber Bahr, told a TV station that her daughter had been shot in the abdomen and was in stable condition. "We were on the phone. She said, 'Hi, Mommy, how you doing?' And all of a sudden, she said, 'I gotta go.' " The next call she received, Pfund said, was from an emergency room doctor.

Another of the injured, 21-year-old Private Keara Bono, called her husband to say: "They shot me. And I'm still here in this country." He heard shots and shouting, before the line went dead. She was shot in the back.

President Obama called the shootings "horrific" and urged Americans to pray for those who were killed and wounded. "It is difficult enough when we lose these men and women in battles overseas," he said. "It is horrifying that they should come under fire at an Army base on American soil."

Colleagues of Hasan described his anti-American outbursts. Colonel Terry Lee, who served with the 39-year-old psychiatrist at the Walter Reed Army Medical Centre in Washington, said that Hasan told other officers: "We shouldn't be over there. …

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