Death toll at 13, suspect in coma - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Death toll at 13, suspect in coma

Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan

FORT HOOD, TX (WTOC/KLTV) - Military officials say the suspected shooter who killed 13 people and wounded 30 more on Fort Hood is in a coma on a ventilator in the hospital but is expected to live.

Officials say a thirteenth victim died Friday. Twelve were shot and killed Thursday at the Texas base.

On Thursday, military officials said the suspected shooter, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, had been shot and killed, but recanted several hours later saying Hasan was alive and in the hospital being watched by guards.

"His death is not imminent," said Lt. Gen. Bob Cone at Fort Hood. He offered little explanation for the mistake, other than to say there was confusion at the hospital.

"In the heat of the incident, it was a lot of confusion was approximately about 400 people at the scene between soldiers, civilians and first responders," said Deputy Commanding General Col. John Rossi on Friday. "Obviously numerous wounded, some killed. And in the incident, there was just confusion."

The names of the dead and injured have not yet been released, but officials say they are doing everything they can to help the injured victims, their families and other soldiers on post.

"Our focus today is going to be on those soldiers who are continuing to require medical care, from admitted patients that are both in our hospital as well as three other community hospitals in the area," said Medical Center Commander Col. Steven Braverman. "We also will focus on the behavioral health needs of our soldiers and family members and other folks in the community."

"We put a great investment in soldiers' first aid and taking care of each other," said Lt. Gen. Cone.

Officials say twelve of the dead are members of the US Army and one was a civilian.

Lt. Gen. Cone. is crediting the quick actions of a Fort Hood police officer, Sgt. Kimberly Munley, for stopping the suspected shooter. Cone said she and her partner were among the first to respond.

He said Munley, despite being shot herself, shot the suspect four times. Officials said Munley was in stable condition.

Witnesses of the shooting told fellow soldiers and family that Hasan was on a rampage. "The major who did it kept loading clip after clip pretty much and was pretty relentless with it and then ran back behind the building," said Spc. Michael Stroup, a friend of a witness.

Cone said all the casualties took place at the base's Soldier Readiness Center where
soldiers who are about to be deployed or who are returning undergo medical screening.

"I'm sure this could have been much worse," said Cone.

Initially on Thursday, three other soldiers were taken into custody by military police for questioning, but they have since been released.

"We questioned over 100 people at the scene," said Cone. "That leads us to believe right now that it was a single shooter. The evidence indicates a single shooter."

Hasan, who is 39-years-old, is an Army psychiatrist who was transferred to Fort Hood in July from Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Officials said he received a poor performance evaluation while at Walter Reed and was about to deploy overseas.

Hasan was born in Virginia and is a graduate of Virginia Tech University and received his medical degree from the military's Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland.

President Barack Obama called the mass shooting a "horrific outburst of violence."

The commander in chief says it's a tragedy to lose a soldier overseas and even more horrifying when they come under fire at an Army base on American soil.

Obama also said his thoughts and prayers are with the wounded and families of the fallen. The violence was believed to be the worst mass shooting in history at a US military base.

For those seeking information about friends or family stationed at Fort Hood, click here.

©2009 WTOC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. KLTV and AP contributed to the report.

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