FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) - The U.S. Army closed its massive Army base at Fort Hood, Texas Thursday after a shooting spree left 12 dead and 31 injured. Fort Hood is located halfway between Austin and Waco and is the world's largest military installation.
The Birmingham News is reporting that one wounded soldier is from Alabama, though WSFA 12 News has been unable to independently confirm that report. Some 260 members of the Alabama Army National Guard's 135th Expeditionary Sustainment Command did leave Birmingham over the weekend for Ft. Hood.
The Army said at one point that the alleged shooter was killed and two others were apprehended and that all are U.S. soldiers. Then, there was an announcement the alleged shooter was still alive. Army officials later released the two apprehended soldiers.
Lt. Col. Nathan Banks, an Army spokesman in Washington, says the first shooting was at 1:30 p.m. and at personnel and medical processing office. He says the second incident took place at a theater on the base.
The man accused of gunning down his fellow soldiers is identified as Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan. Hasan was a psychiatrist at Walter Reed Army Medical Center for six years before being transferred to the Texas base in July. Officials with access to Maj. Hasan's military record, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he received a poor performance evaluation while at Walter Reed.
Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) said the suspect was about to deploy overseas, though it wasn't clear if he was headed to Iraq or Afghanistan and exactly when he was scheduled to leave. Hutchison says she was told about the upcoming deployment by generals based at Fort Hood.
The Virginia-born soldier was single with no children. He was 39 years old. He is a graduate of Virginia Tech University, where he was a member of the ROTC and earned a bachelor's degree in biochemistry in 1997. He received his medical degree from the military's Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., in 2001. At Walter Reed, he did his internship, residency and a fellowship.
KNOW ANYONE AT FT. HOOD? WE WANT TO TALK WITH YOU
Email us at DWingard@wsfa.com with your contact information.
WSFA 12 News spoke with representatives at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery. The spokesman said the base was taking "prudent measures" to ensure the safety of its officials. The base is NOT on lockdown but anyone traveling to the base is advised to expect delays.
Fort Rucker issued the following statement:
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to our fellow soldiers at Ft. Hood and their families. We take force protection very seriously and as always we remain vigilant in order to protect the soldiers' families and civilians working and living on Ft. Rucker."
"It's obviously a terrible tragedy and we all should continue to pray for the families of the victims," said Rep. Mike Rogers (R).
"Though details are still forthcoming, many of our brave service members at Fort Hood lost their lives today at the hands of madmen," said Rep. Bobby Bright (D). These shootings are nothing short of senseless and tragic. As someone who represents two military bases, I can only imagine the profound sense of loss the greater Fort Hood community must feel. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who died or were wounded, and with the hundreds of thousands of service men and women honorably serving our country."
PRESIDENT OBAMA REACTS
(Read full reaction here)
President Barack Obama is calling the mass shooting a "horrific outburst of violence." He says he doesn't yet know all the details but promised the government would get "answers to every single question."
The commander in chief says it's a tragedy to lose a soldier overseas and even more horrifying when they come under fire at an Army base on American soil. Obama also said his thoughts and prayers are with the wounded and families of the fallen.