Military officials charged Maj. Nadil Malik Hasan on Thursday with 13 counts of premeditated murder, accusing him of a brutal one-man attack here at America’s largest Army post last week and setting in motion what promises to be a historic court-martial proceeding that could end in the death penalty.
Hasan, 39, an Army psychiatrist who had espoused the belief that America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were wars against all Muslims, is accused of opening fire with a pistol on Nov. 5 at a Fort Hood center where troops receive medical attention before being deployed or after returning from overseas.
Before being cut down by the police, he shot to death four commissioned officers, eight enlisted soldiers and one civilian in the crowded center, officials say. Twenty-nine other people were wounded, even as some threw chairs and tables at the gunman and struggled to flee the building.
Christopher P. Grey, a spokesman for the Army Criminal Investigation Command, said the 13 murder counts against Hasan marked “initial charges” and said “additional charges may be preferred in the future, subject to the ongoing criminal investigation.”
From the day the shooting started, military investigators and the FBI have been trying to determine if Hasan acted alone, and so far, law enforcement officials in Washington say, they have found no evidence of a conspiracy.
Col. John P. Galligan, a retired Army officer who is representing Hasan, has questioned whether the suspect will be able to get a fair trial at Fort Hood. He also told CNN that he had spoken to the major, who remains wounded and heavily sedated at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. Galligan did not return messages from a reporter on Thursday.
Grey said Hasan remained under guard at the hospital, where he is listed in stable condition and is recovering from four gunshot wounds. Twelve of the shooting victims remain in hospitals, one in intensive care, Col. John Rossi said.
The investigation is going slowly, Grey said. Investigators have cordoned off the medical building, along with four adjacent buildings and two large nearby parking lots. They are meticulously analyzing evidence of more than 100 rounds that authorities said Hasan fired during the attack. They are also interviewing dozens of witnesses, he said.