Friday, August 16, 2013

Fellow shrink identified Hasan after massacre

Ft. Hood – A fellow physician confirmed Hasan's identity only minutes after he admittedly attacked and killed 13 people, injuring more than 30.

Maj. Clifford Allen Hopewell, M.D., is a psychiatrist who formerly headed the Behavioral Health Unit of the Soldier Readiness Program.

Today, a big part of his job still includes automated computerized testing of soldiers for traumatic brain injury and certifying them ready for deployment.

Before his retirement, he was a colleague of Dr. Abu Nidal Malik Hasan; though their responsibilities diverged, they were involved in related practice, he explained from the witness stand on Thursday, just minutes before Col. Tara Osborne recessed court for the day.

Asked where he was on Nov. 5, 2009, a few minutes after the lunch hour ended, he explained that his operation headquartered in three buildings situated in a row directly behind Building 42003, where the attack took place.

When he first heard gunfire, he said, he knew it was semiautomatic weapon fire, but he thought it came from M-16 rifles.

He soon learned he was mistaken when he stumbled across an empty magazine of an unfamiliar type. “I knew it was not from the kind of sidearm they issue officers in a combat zone,” he told his questioner. “It wasn't from a Beretta.”

Sure it was evidence, he picked it up and took it with him to make sure no one took it away as a keepsake. He later gave it to an Army criminal investigator.

When he walked a little further, he saw Major Hasan with a crowd of medics around him, struggling to keep him alive.

Army police spotted him and showed him an identity card with Hasan's picture on it. “They thought he was one of my employees,” he recalled. “I let them know the man they were treating was the one in the picture.”

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