Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Witness: Maj. Hasan Told Receptionist Of “Emergency”

She left to go to an office and heard gunfire she thought was a drill

Ft. Hood – A doctor threw a chair at the gunman, numerous people fled through windows and one victim said he fixed him with a “piercing” look as he changed magazines.

Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Hasan showed little emotion as witnesses detailed what happened when he entered the Soldier Readiness Center on this sprawling military base armed with a powerful handgun and opened fire on fellow soldiers.

In an Article 32 hearing, the military version of a pre-trial hearing in which a judge determines if there is enough evidence to hold a trial, victims of the November, 2009, shooting rampage in which 13 people lost their lives and 32 were wounded described the horror of the attack. In Texas, civilian prosecutors present evidence and testimony to Grand Juries who determine if the charges warrant court prosecution.

Maj. Hasan is facing 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder.

A big part of his duties included screening soldiers who exhibited symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder.

A devout follower of the Islamic faith, the doctor had been in close contact with jihadist sympathizers for many months via internet communications prior to his attack on fellow soldiers.

He was due to be deployed to the war zone in Iraq when the shooting occurred.

La Toya Williams testified that Maj. Hasan approached her at the front desk of the health clinic and told her of needing to speak to her about a mysterious emergency.

As she left her place at the front desk to go to a private office where they could talk, she testified, she suddenly heard gunfire, which at first she thought was a drill.

When the shooting began, Michelle Harper said she hid under a Then she ran and jumped through a window, escaping with only minor cuts and bruises before driving away in her car.

Prosecutors played a tape of her 911 call, in which the screams and gunshots were plainly audible.

Observers said Dr. Hasan sat cold and unresponsive to the testimony, which got underway only after several unexplained delays and a ruling denying a continuance in the proceedings. The judge warned participants that due to the Major's health problems, there may be protracted delays.

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