Fort Hood suspect kicked gun from officer’s hand
FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) — With the gunman standing over her, Fort Hood police officer Kimberly Munley tried to fire her weapon as she lay bleeding on the ground. Nothing happened.
The shooter then kicked the gun from her hand. But then the shooter’s gun malfunctioned and he stumbled back as one of Munley’s fellow officers yelled, “Drop your weapon.” The officer fired, and the gunman fell.
Munley recalled those seconds while testifying Friday at the military trial of Maj. Nidal Hasan, who is accused of killing 13 people that day at the Texas military base in November 2009. The Army psychiatrist also is accused of wounding more than 30 others in the worst mass shooting ever on the U.S. military base.
When asked if the man who tried to kill her was in the courtroom, Munley — who was shot three times — pointed to Hasan.
Munley told jurors that she quickly spotted someone in Army clothing with a gun after arriving at the scene, a medical building on the Army post that had been crowded with soldiers preparing to deploy. She then heard her colleague, Sgt. Mark Todd, order the man to drop his weapon.
Munley said she saw a red laser flash across her eyes, and she began taking fire. She said the gunman was running and firing in her direction, so she took cover behind a building.
“I realized he was not slowing down whatsoever,” she testified. “He rounded the corner and within eight feet or so, we blindly began to exchange fire.”
She was shot once in her right hand and twice in her right leg.
“When I fell to the ground, the shooter was closer to me,” she said. “I tried to continue to fire. My weapon would not fire. Some sort of malfunction in my weapon. I see him standing over me, trying to shoot me.”
She said Hasan then “kicked the weapon out of my hand.” She crawled to regain her gun as Hasan was trying to fix his weapon when she heard Todd again yell at the gunman. Todd then fired his gun, Munley said.
“I see him go down,” she said of Hasan. She explained that she then scooted herself up a wall to “try to put pressure on what I know is an arterial wound.”
Hasan — who is acting as his own attorney — raised no objections and declined to ask any questions during Munley’s testimony, which has largely been his strategy since the trial began last week. His lack of defense so far has allowed prosecutors to call more than 70 witnesses, indicating that the trial could wrap up far sooner than the months-long timeline originally announced by the judge.
The military attorneys who have been ordered to help him during the trial have accused Hasan of trying to convince jurors to convict him and sentence him to death, though Hasan denies those claims. If convicted by the jury, composed of all military officers, he could face the death penalty.
Earlier Thursday, an FBI agent told jurors that a search of Hasan’s home revealed a barren apartment.
“It wasn’t so much what we saw, it was what we didn’t see,” said FBI agent Donna Cowling, who led a team of investigators to Hasan’s apartment in Killeen, near the Army post, the night of the attack.
She said there was no furniture, only a card table, a prayer rug and a shredder, and the kitchen cabinets were virtually empty. On the table was a package for a pistol laser sight, rubber bands and paper towels.
Witnesses have testified that Hasan stuffed paper towels in his pockets before the attack to muffle the sound of his ammunition.