Major Nidal Hasan shouted "Allahu Akbar" ("God is greatest" in Arabic) during the attack and later said he wanted to be a martyr. Now he faces death by lethal injection, pending an automatic appeal, for the rampage that also wounded 31 people.
At 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 5, 2009, a man in military uniform enters one of the buildings making up the Soldier Readiness Processing Center, where hundreds of soldiers headed for Afghanistan are lined up for medical screening. Shouting "God is great" in Arabic, the man opens fire with what is believed to be an FN Herstal tactical pistol, a weapon popular with SWAT teams. Thirteen people are killed, including a woman who was three months pregnant. Walking between buildings, the assailant runs into civilian police officer Kimberley Munley and shoots her several times. As the gunman reloads, he is shot by her colleague Sergeant Mark Todd, who then cuffs him. The Texas base is in confusion for hours.
The [no longer] alleged gunman is identified as Major Nidal Malik Hasan, 39, an Army psychiatrist. Beginning the day before the massacre, Hasan allegedly gave away all his possessions, including a desk lamp, air mattress, frozen vegetables and copies of the Koran. He told his imam that he was planning to visit his parents before deploying to Afghanistan. His mother and father, however, had been dead for nearly a decade.
New York Times
Major Hasan was born in Arlington, Va., on Sept. 8, 1970. His parents, Palestinians who had immigrated from the West Bank in the 1960s, moved the family to Roanoke when he was a youth. The lower cost of living offered a chance to open businesses, relatives said: first a somewhat seedy bar in the old farmer’s market downtown; later a more upscale Middle Eastern restaurant and a convenience store.
Major Hasan was the oldest of three boys, all of whom helped in the family businesses before going off to college and professional schools. Major Hasan graduated with honors from Virginia Tech in biochemistry in 1995. ...
Against the wishes of his parents, relatives said, Major Hasan enlisted in the Army after graduating from college and entered an officer basic training program at Fort Sam Houston, Tex. He was commissioned in 1997 and went to medical school at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., a selective and tuition-free program.
After graduating in 2003, he did his internship and residency in psychiatry at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and then completed a two-year fellowship in preventive and disaster psychiatry, earning a master’s degree in public health.
An uncle who lives in Ramallah said Major Hasan chose psychiatry over surgery after fainting while observing childbirth during his medical training.
He was promoted from captain to major in May 2009 and assigned to Fort Hood that July, and his officer evaluation reports referred to him as a star officer.
But the officer who assigned Major Hasan to Fort Hood told an Army official there that “you’re getting our worst,” according to a 2011 report prepared by the offices of Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut, and Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine. The report found that Army officers who knew of Major Hasan’s problematic behavior gave him evaluations that misstated his performance and ignored complaints about his radical Islamic views.
One of the allegations in a lawsuit filed against federal and Pentagon officials by victims and survivors of the attack has been that the shooting, which left 13 people dead and more than 30 wounded, was preventable.
A Pentagon review of the shooting released in 2010 recommended several Army officers be referred for possible punishment for not properly supervising Major Hasan and found that the Defense Department was focused on fighting external threats rather than radicalization within its ranks.