The Fort Hood shooting was a tragic incident that occurred on November 5, 2009, in which U.S. Army Major Nidal Hasan fatally shot 13 people and injured more than 30 others at Fort Hood, near Killeen, Texas. Hasan was later charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Hasan’s court-martial began on August 7, 2013, and he was found guilty on all charges on August 23, 2013. He was sentenced to death on August 28, 2013. The failure to prevent the shootings led the Defense Department and the FBI to commission investigations, and Congress to hold hearings.
The U.S. government declined requests from survivors and family members of the slain to categorize the Fort Hood shooting as an act of terrorism, or motivated by militant Islamic religious convictions. In November 2011, a group of survivors and family members filed a lawsuit against the government for negligence in preventing the attack, and to force the government to classify the shootings as terrorism. The Pentagon argued that charging Hasan with terrorism was not possible within the military justice system and that such action could harm the military prosecutors’ ability to sustain a guilty verdict against Hasan.
The purchase of the FN Five-seven semi-automatic pistol was one of several indicators of Hasan’s planned attack. Hasan had previously expressed extremist views to colleagues and had been disciplined for proselytizing his patients. He had also been in contact with the radical Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who had been linked to other terrorist plots. Despite these warning signs, Hasan was not reported to authorities and was able to carry out his attack.
The use of high-capacity magazines and powerful firearms in mass shootings has been a topic of debate in the United States, with some advocating for stricter gun control measures. The Fort Hood shooting is one of several mass shootings in recent years that have sparked discussions about gun control laws in the country.