Major accused of killing very soldiers he trained to help

Rob Richardson took his children, Gavin, 1, and Peyton and John, both 3, to a candlelight vigil Friday at Hood Stadium for the victims of the mass shootings at Fort Hood.

FORT HOOD, Texas — As if going off to war, Maj. Nidal M. Hasan cleaned out his apartment, gave leftover frozen broccoli to one neighbor and called another to thank him for his friendship — common courtesies and routines of the departing soldier.

Instead, authorities said, he went on a killing spree that left 13 people at Fort Hood dead.

Investigators examined Hasan's computer, his home and his garbage Friday to learn what motivated the suspect, who lay in a coma, shot four times in the frantic bloodletting.

Hospital officials said some of the wounded had extremely serious injuries and might not survive.

Hasan, 39, an Army psychiatrist, emerged as a study in contradictions — a polite man who stewed with discontent, a counselor who needed to be counseled himself, a professional healer now suspected of cutting down the fellow soldiers he was sworn to help.

Relatives said he felt harassed because of his Muslim faith, but did not embrace extremism. Others were not so sure.

A recent classmate said Hasan once gave a jarring presentation to students in which he argued that the war on terrorism was a war against Islam, and 'made himself a lightning rod for things' when he felt his religious beliefs were challenged.

Investigators were trying to piece together how and why Hasan allegedly gunned down his comrades in the worst case of violence on a military base in the United States.

The rampage unfolded at a center where some 300 unarmed soldiers were lined up for vaccines and eye tests.

Soldiers reported that the gunman shouted 'Allahu Akbar!' — an Arabic phrase for 'God is great!' — before opening fire Thursday, said Lt. Gen. Robert Cone, the post commander. He said officials had not confirmed that Hasan made the comment.

Hasan's family said in a statement Friday that his alleged actions were deplorable and don't reflect how the family was reared.

'Our family is filled with grief for the victims and their families involved in yesterday's tragedy,' said Nader Hasan, a cousin who lives in northern Virginia.

'We are mortified with what has unfolded and there is no justification whatsoever for what happened. We are all asking why this happened, and the answer is that we simply do not know.'

The 30 wounded were dispersed among hospitals in central Texas. W. Roy Smythe, chairman of surgery at Scott and White Memorial Hospital, said several patients were still at 'significant risk' of losing their lives.

Army officials told lawmakers in Washington that eight other people were treated at a hospital for stress and trauma.

Army Chief of Staff George Casey said he asked bases around the country to assess their security. He also said he was worried about a backlash against the thousands of Muslim soldiers serving dutifully in uniform.

The Charleston Air Force Base reported that normal operations were in effect Friday. The Charleston Naval Weapons Station in Goose Creek also said there were 'no indication of any threat' at the site.

Air Force base personnel joined

a moment of silence at 2:34 p.m. for the victims at Fort Hood. In a show of support, the base flag was flown at half-staff.

Hasan was due to be deployed to Afghanistan to help soldiers with combat stress, a task he had done stateside with returning soldiers, the Army said. Col. Cathy Abbott, an Army spokeswoman, said she didn't know when Hasan was to leave, but he was in the preparation stage of deployment.

In any event, the major was saying goodbyes and dispensing belongings to neighbors.

Neighbor Patricia Villa said Hasan came to her apartment the day of the shooting

to give her vegetables and other items, and offer her $60 to clean his apartment after he left.

According to a police report in Killeen, Texas, where Hasan lived, an Army employee was charged in August with scratching Hasan's car, causing $1,000 in damage.

Apartment manager John Thompson said the man charged was a soldier back from Iraq, who objected to Hasan's faith and ripped a bumper sticker off the major's car that said 'Allah is Love.'