The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

August 8, 2013

Soldiers describe gunfire, being shot at Fort Hood

— FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) — Staff Sgt. Michael Davis took cover under a desk when he realized the rapid gunfire wasn't from a training exercise at his Texas military base. He saw blood spray, then someone else get shot. When the soldier thought it safe to flee, he stood up — but he was quickly shot in the back.

Davis recalled those few minutes Thursday during the trial of Maj. Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people and injuring 32 others during a shooting rampage at Fort Hood in November 2009. When the prosecutor asked Davis to describe the rate of gunfire, he quickly hit his hand on the ledge of the witness stand.

"I still thought it was a drill, but I heard some screaming that didn't sound like it was fake," Davis said.

Spc. Alan Carroll said he, too, thought it a training exercise, telling jurors: "I thought it was a popgun at first."

Carroll said was shot in the shoulder but had tried to save a more seriously wounded soldier who later died. Davis said he was able to get himself out of the building where the shooting occurred, flag down a truck and get taken to a hospital.

Hasan — who is acting as his own attorney — asked neither soldier any questions, continuing a mostly silent defense strategy that has caused tension with the standby attorneys who have been ordered to help him. They believe Hasan is trying to secure a conviction and death sentence.

The military defense lawyers had asked the judge to either let them take over the case or remove them from their advising duties. The judge denied both requests earlier Thursday, before the jury was in the courtroom, saying it was clear the lawyers simply disagreed with Hasan's defense strategy.

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