Civilian police officers describe Fort Hood gunfight


FORT HOOD, Texas — On the chaotic afternoon of Nov. 5,
a gunman firing a laser-equipped pistol shot and killed several
soldiers inside a crowded base processing center, then ran outside to
shoot more victims.

There, he encountered Fort Hood civilian police officers Kimberly Munley and Mark Todd.

The gunman opened fire — first on Munley, then on
Todd. Within 30 seconds, the officers testified at a military hearing
Wednesday, Munley lay wounded and defenseless as Todd confronted the
gunman from 20 feet away.

“I challenged him — ‘Halt! Military police! Drop your weapon!'” Todd testified.

The gunman, identified by Munley as Maj. Nidal Hasan,
an Army psychiatrist, had just shot Munley in the hand, thigh and knee.
She was flat on the ground, crawling to recover her police handgun,
which Hasan had kicked away, she said.

At that moment, Todd testified, he saw the gunman’s red targeting laser fixed on him. The gunman got off several shots.

Todd returned fire five times from his Beretta M9 semiautomatic pistol.

“I seen him wince a couple times,” Todd said. “I rushed him. I kicked the weapon, placed him in hand irons.”

Those five shots ended a terrifying rampage for
which Hasan is charged with killing 13 people and wounding 32 more. In
their first courtroom testimony, Munley and Todd added dramatic details
to a compelling prosecution narrative that paints Hasan as a coldly
efficient and remorseless killer.

“He had a determined look on his face,” Munley told the court. “Solemn. No expression.”

As the two officers calmly described their
overlapping gun battles, Hasan stared impassively from a few feet away.
He sat slumped in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the chest down by Todd’s
gunfire. He was warmed by a blanket and a green cloth watch cap inside
the air-conditioned courtroom.

Hasan watched intently as video from the officers’
car-mounted cameras was played in court. The videos did not show the
shootings, but the bam-bam-bam of rapid gunfire resonated in the
cramped courtroom as police sirens wailed in the background.

The Article 32 hearing, now in its second week, will
determine whether Hasan faces trial at a court-martial, where he could
face the death penalty. At the conclusion of the prosecution’s case,
the defense may present witnesses and testimony but is not required to
put on a case.

The civilian police officers were the 49th and 50th
prosecution witnesses. More than three dozen soldiers, most of them
wounded in the rampage, have described a gunman who shot and killed
bleeding soldiers — including a pregnant private, Francheska Velez — as they awaited medical processing for deployments to or from Afghanistan and Iraq.

Several soldiers, some of them glaring at Hasan from
the witness stand, identified him as the uniformed major who cried out
“Allahu akbar” — Arabic for “God is great” — before opening fire.

Defense lawyers have not challenged witnesses’
testimony, but have focused on whether the gunman seemed to be firing
randomly or at specific people. Testimony suggested that the shooter
passed up several opportunities to shoot civilians while firing
point-blank at uniformed soldiers.

While a resident at Walter Reed Army Medical Center,
Hasan reportedly told colleagues he believed the U.S. was waging war on
Muslims. He said Muslim soldiers shouldn’t be asked to kill fellow

Hasan, a Muslim born in the U.S. to Palestinian parents, was at the processing center preparing to deploy to Afghanistan.

Munley, who was praised by Fort Hood commanders as a heroine for confronting Hasan, became a media favorite and appeared on the ” Oprah Winfrey” and “Today” shows. Her testimony confirmed that she fired six or seven times at Hasan, but apparently did not hit him.

“I did not see him fall. Not from my shots, no,” Munley testified.

Todd, who also appeared with Munley on the Winfrey
show, was not injured and remains on duty. Munley, who had surgery for
wounds that included a femur shattered into 120 pieces, said she plans
to return to full duty Nov. 1.

The officers testified while wearing black police
uniforms with gold sergeant’s stripes on the sleeves and bright gold
badges pinned over the heart. They spoke in clipped, clinical terms
laced with police jargon.

Munley said she was washing her patrol car when she
got a radio call saying shots had been fired at the processing center.
The police video shows her speeding to the center, trailed by Todd in a
separate cruiser.

In the video, a soldier in the parking lot points
Munley toward the gunman. Munley runs toward the processing center and
disappears from the video, which moments later records the sounds of
her gun battle with Hasan.

Munley said she took cover behind a building whose
rainspout was peppered by Hasan’s gunshots, spraying her with shrapnel.
She fired back, aiming for “center mass,” she said, but was shot first
in the hand and then in the thigh.

“Then I was shot in the knee and went down,” she said.

Her police-issued Beretta malfunctioned. Before she could find a way to get it firing again, she said, Hasan kicked it away.

Hasan appeared to be having trouble with his weapon,
Munley said. He moved away from her and encountered Todd, who she said
ordered Hasan several times to drop his gun.

Todd said he, too, had been directed by soldiers to
the gunman, who had taken up a firing position outside the processing
center. After an exchange of fire, he said, the gunman collapsed and
slid down against a telephone pole.

Todd ran over, kicked the gunman’s weapon away, handcuffed him — and began emergency medical treatment.

“I started checking his vitals to try to save his life,” Todd said.

Emergency rescue crews then took over, and Todd left
the gunman to help wounded soldiers, he testified. But first he
recovered a semiautomatic pistol, a revolver and several magazines
loaded with rounds, he said.

The revolver apparently was not fired during the rampage.

At least 146 cartridge casings fired from the gunman’s pistol were recovered from the shooting scene, investigator Kelly Jameson testified. The weapon was mounted with two laser targeting sights —
green and red. Several soldiers testified that they saw lasers trained
on themselves or other soldiers.

Jameson said the gunman carried 10 magazines loaded
with rounds; some magazines were extended models that hold 30 rounds.
He had 177 rounds still available when Todd’s bullets brought him down.


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