As the Fort Hood community deals with the horror of today’s mass murder at the Texas base, details are beginning to emerge about the alleged killer, Army Major Nidal M. Hasan.
A psychiatrist assigned to the Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood, Hasan had been assigned to the post since 2007, when he completed training at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
In fact, all of Hasan’s medical training was provided by the U.S. military. According to a provider database maintained by the state of Virginia (where he was licensed), Hasan earned his medical degree from the F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS). Located in Bethesda, Maryland, the university operates the only medical school in the U.S. military.
After earning his M.D. degree, Hasan moved on to Walter Reed for a four-year residency in psychiatry. The Virginia medical database also indicates that Hasan completed a fellowship in Disaster and Preventive Psychiatry at Walter Reed earlier this year.
According to his professional profile, listed on the website, Hasan saw patients at Fort Hood five days a week, and spent “90% of his time” at the installation. The profile also reported that Hasan had been in clinical practice for “less than a year” at the time the website was updated last month.
There were no reports of past disciplinary action against Hasan, according to the database. He was licensed to practice medicine in Virginia 2005 and his license was up for renewal next year.
However, sources tell the Associated Press that Hasan received a poor performance evaluation during his time at Walter Reed. Despite that, he completed his residency on schedule, was transferred to Fort Hood, and promoted to Major in May of this year.
Various media outlets report that Hasan was “upset” about his deployment to Iraq, scheduled for later this month.
Using two handguns, Hasan opened fire around 1:30 p.m. today, targeting soldiers at a readiness center on the western side of the sprawling base. A Fort Hood spokesman said soldiers “cycle through” the facility as they prepare to deploy. It’s unclear if Hasan was participating in pre-deployment processing when he opened fire, killing 12 soldiers and civilians before being shot by a security guard.
Two other soldiers were taken into custody shortly after the shooting but were later released, according to Republican Congressman John Carter, whose Texas district includes Fort Hood.
Some reports suggested the Hasan was a convert to Islam, but that was not immediately confirmed. Hasan was a U.S. citizen. Students at the USUHS are required to be citizens before graduation, so they can be commissioned as military officers.
UPDATE: 11:00 p.m. EST. The commanding general at Fort Hood now says that Hasan did not die in the shootout. Though he was hit multiple times, the gunman somehow survied and is hospitalized in stable condition. Looks like death row at Leavenworth will be getting a new senior ranking officer in the near future. On a happier note, the civilian security guard who first engaged Hasan also survived. That lady deserves a medal, a pay raise, or both.
We’ve also noted that the post-shooting spin has already begun, with various “experts” offering possible explanations for Hasan’s murderous rampage. At least one pundit suggests the shooter was feeling the effects of “second-hand PTSD,” caused by being around those who experience the condition first-hand. And predictably enough, a member of Hasan’s family claims the Major experienced “anti-Muslim” discrimination in the Army. But apparently, the discrimination wasn’t enough to deny him a decade of taxpayer-funded education and a commission as an Army officer–and not to mention his recent promotion to field-grade rank.