(Courtesy of Chron.com)
FORT HOOD — Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan has been charged by the Army with 13 specifications of premeditated murder in connection with the shootings at Fort Hood.
Chris Grey, a spokesman for the Army criminal investigation division, did not rule out the filing of more charges in the case. He called today’s charges “a first step in the court-martial process.”
At a brief press conference where no questions were taken, he also revealed that Hasan was shot by two Fort Hood police officers. There has been widespread speculation on which officer fired the rounds that struck Hasan,
Grey also confirmed a report originally published in the Express-News that Hasan was under guard at Brooke Army Medical Center. Grey said Hasan was in “pre-trial restriction.”
He also said Hasan was not at the Soldier Readiness Center last Thursday for any official business.
Grey told the reporters that all autopsies had been completed at Dover AFB, Del.
Col. John Rossi, who began the press conference, said the readiness center was “fully operational.” But Grey seemed to contradict that statement. He told reporters that the crime scene involved “a very large area” that included the readiness center, four adjacent buildings and two parking lots. He said the scene was still being scrutinized by investigators and that law enforcement officers on the scene were conducting inspections of vehicles in the area for bullet impacts. He added that he had no idea when the readiness center “will be released.”
The penalty for premeditated murder, according to Article 118 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, is “death or imprisonment for life as a court-martial may direct.”
Hasan remained at Brooke Army Medical Center today, and his lawyers said they planned to visit him later in the day.
In Fort Hood later today, a unit that lost four soldiers in the shootout will gather for a memorial ceremony. The 20th Engineer Brigade converges on the post at 2 p.m. for the solemn rites.
It had 21 soldiers at the post readiness center when the alleged gunman waded into a crowd of GIs armed with two handguns.
Three of the 20th’s men died on the scene, while a fourth perished in Darnall Army Community Hospital. Another 11 were treated there.
“Obviously, for most folks, I think it’s very surreal to wake up and not hear about something that’s happened in Iraq or Afghanistan, but to find out it’s happened on the home front, particularly the largest military installation in the United States,” the battalion’s commander, Lt. Col. Pete Andrysiak, recently told reporters.
The memorial follows a series of Veterans Day ceremonies that honored the fallen. One in Georgetown featured Lt. Gen. Robert Cone.
He told the San Antonio Express-News that the Army would launch a campaign to combat stress stemming from the shootings, and that it would concentrate on 600 people who were either eyewitnesses or near the the deployment facility. It also would help spouses and children on the post, including youngsters who were locked down in their classrooms on nine Fort Hood schools.
Meanwhile, the mystery surrounding the incident only grew after the FBI allowed the manager of an apartment complex to open Hasan’s small, one-bedroom unit to the media on Wednesday.
A Virginia native, Hasan earned somewhere around $6,794 a month in base pay as an Army psychiatrist – not counting his basic housing allowance, food allowance and a medical and dental bonus given to those soldiers with a specialty like his.
His salary, provided today morning by a post spokeswoman, comes to $81,528 a year, yet he lived in a dingy $325 a-month apartment complex and had little furniture or other personal valuables- and the few things he did have he gave away only a day before the shooting.
Hasan was a healer, a physician who treated soldiers haunted by war. But authorities say he fired more than 100 rounds into the crowded processing center, killing 13 people and wounded 42.
He, too, suffered gunshot wounds and was under watch Wednesday night by armed civilian guards. An Express-News reporter also saw federal agents stopping by the intensive care unit to visit with Hasan.
An entrance to the ICU was cordoned off with yellow caution tape, and signs on those entrance/exit doors instruct visitors to use other entrances to the area.
“He was sufficiently coherent, but in that half hour period I explained to him how I was retained, and secured from him an acceptance of my continued representation,” Hasan’s attorney, former military judge John P.Galligan, said of a conversation they had Monday.
One of the Army’s elite and working in a career field that often doesn’t have enough professionals, Hasan lived no differently from his more poorly educated, working-class neighbors.
One sergeant at Fort Hood called him “a conundrum.”