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November 5, 2009

13 confirmed dead, many others wounded as EMS responds to Ft. Hood shooting victims

Editor's Note: EMS1 will continue to follow this breaking news and provide updates as they become available.

By Doug Wyllie
EMS1 Staff

FORT HOOD, Texas — Thirteen people are dead and dozens more have been wounded in a shooting at the Soldier Readiness Center located at at Fort Hood. Eleven of the victims were U.S. troops, according to reports, and one civilian police officer was also killed in the attack. The suspected gunman has been identified as Major Malik Nadal Hasan, reportedly about 39 or 40 years old, killed by military police officers who had responded to the incident.

The U.S. Army base, which is the largest U.S. military installation in the world and home of both the 1st Cavalry Division and the First Army Division West, is located outside Killeen, Texas. Nearby schools, including the Killeen Independent School District, had been put on lockdown. Other U.S. military bases had been placed on an alert status, but none on official lockdown.

"A shooter opened fire and due to the quick response of police forces, the shooter was killed," Lt. General Bob Cone said during an impromptu press conference several moments before 1400 (Pacific Time). “He [the primary shooter] was a soldier."

Cone also confirmed that two other suspected shooters were military personnel. "We have since apprehended two additional soldiers — both are suspects. They were apprehended and are suspects at this time."

Cone said also that "all the casualties were at the initial incident," and that both weapons used by the primary shooter were handguns.

Carroll Smith, Public Information Officer for nearby Killeen Police Department, told EMS1 immediately following the initial reports of the shooting that her department was standing by and ready to aid in the response. Smith then confirmed early reports that there were two attackers — "one shooter is in custody, one other is contained," Smith said.

"One gunman was reportedly in custody and another was on the loose," said an early report from NBC News.

Smith said further that her counterparts at Fort Hood were "not releasing anything because everything is chaos there right now. I've been there, done that. We're just waiting to get a call from them should they need our assistance."

Texas DPS spokeswoman Tela Mange told EMS1, "Texas Highway Patrol Troopers and Texas Rangers responded to the scene to assist in securing perimeter and provide other assistance."

According to the very first reports from national news sources, it was unknown whether victims were soldiers or civilians. Subsequent reports indicate that most, if not all, of the casualties are U.S. military personnel.

Barbara Starr, Pentagon Reporter for CNN had reported at 1330 hrs. (Pacific Time) that as many as nine people were dead and as many as 30 have been wounded. Those numbers, as noted above, have since been updated by the U.S. Army.

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honore told CNN that "one person is 'neutralized' in connection with the incident, and a second is 'cornered'."

In a live interview on CNN, Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison said that she had spoken with an Army General on the base, who had told her that both of the shooters were wearing military uniforms, although it is unclear whether the shooters were impersonators or military personnel.

"The shooting began at about 1:30 p.m. at a personnel and medical processing office," Army spokesman Lt. Col. Nathan Banks had told the Associated Press very soon after the incident began. This facility, a converted athletic dome, is one of the places soldiers go for medical readiness examinations before deploying to the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan.

"It's difficult enough when we lose these brave Americans in battles overseas," President Obama said during a late afternoon press conference. "It is horrifying that they should come under fire at an Army base on American soil."

Watch a live news stream on CNN for updates on the shooting