|Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan depicted by CCTV camera in on-base convenience store|
on the day of the deadly assault that killed 13, wounded more than 30 persons
Ft. Hood – People were surprised, shocked when Maj. Abu Nidal Malik Hasan opened fire with an ultra-sophisticated semiautomatic handgun.
Sergeant Davis thought it was a pre-deployment drill when he heard “a popping” as he waited to receive an inoculation in a cubicle at the Soldier Readiness Center a few minutes after 1 p.m. on Nov. 5, 2009.
Only moments before, he told jurors as an Army prosecutor questioned him, a lady prepared to give him a shot, and then what he heard reminded him of M-16 rifles shooting blank rounds in a combat simulation exercise.
“I honestly thought it was a drill.”
Events suddenly came into sharp focus, became very real. “I saw somebody get hit. I saw blood spray. I told the lady who gave me a shot, 'This is not a drill. They're shooting people up there.'”
As he spoke, he stared into space, seeing events that occurred more than 3 years in the past as they unfolded in an unseen place only a few inches in front of his face.
He and the nurse began to make their way out of the building, heading for a rear entrance, when he took refuge under a desk with “someone I don't remember now.”
Sgt. Davis hid there for “I don't know how long,” when an older man ran by, shouting “Is somebody going to take this guy out?”
As he fled, “I heard a young lady screaming, 'My baby, my baby, my baby...”
Asked about the rate of fire, he said it was steady, then slapped the railing of the witness stand before him rapidly. “Pardon me,” said Col. Tara Osborn, the judge hearing the General Court Martial for 13 specifications of premeditated murder and 32 of premeditated attempted murder. She told the court reporter, “The record will show the witness rapped the rail seven times in staccato fashion.”
Grasping for his foremost impressions of that day when all hell broke loose, Sgt. Davis said, “It smelled like gunpowder in there...I heard somebody yelling Go, go, go!” When he stood up to make a run for it, “I got hit pretty hard in the back. I fell face first on the floor.”
When a lull in the onslaught of withering fire came, he made a run for Batallion Ave., caught a truck passing by and vaulted into the open cargo bed, where he tapped on the glass of the rear cab window, and said, “I'm shot. Would you please take me to the hospital?”
The driver took him straight to Darnall Army Community Hospital on post.
Asked where he was wounded, he said he was shot once, in the back.
“Did you have the bullet removed?”
Where was it?
“It was lodged between the T-7 and C-1 vertabrae,” he replied.
When was that?
“They did that in 2011.”
The judge told him he was permanently dismissed, but to keep his mouth shut if anyone asks him questions about his testimony until he is finally released from the summons of the Court's subpoena.
He received his instructions stoically, standing as straight as a ramrod, then stalked away to the door that returns to the witness waiting area, his duty done, his mission accomplished.