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Inside the Fort Hood Courtroom: Quotes from the Hasan Trial

Brigitte Woosley

Today wraps up the first week of testimony in the trial of Maj. Nidal Hasan, the man accused of killing 13 people and wounding more than 30 at the Fort Hood Army Post on Nov. 5, 2009.  

On Thursday, 15 witnesses testified before the court. Most of them were eyewitnesses to the shooting. Many were in the medical processing center to get cleared for deployment or return. Some of the witnesses worked in the Soldier Readiness Processing Center.

Here’s a look at what happened on that day, according to Thursday’s witnesses:

“The SRP was jam packed, every desk had ten people deep” – Sgt. Monique Archuletta worked in the Soldier Readiness Processing Center, where the shooting occurred. On that day, many soldiers were in the processing center waiting clearance to be deployed.

“Maj. Parish needs to see you. It's an emergency”  – Data Entry Clerk Latoya Williams worked in the building where the shooting occurred. She testified that’s what Hasan told her minutes before the shooting occurred.

"Allahu Akbar!" That’s what witnesses testified Hasan said before loading his weapon and shooting at the rows of chairs in the center of the room.

“He yelled Allahu Akhbar and loaded his weapon came around the counter and started shooting to my left.” Spc. Meagan Martinez was sitting in the rows of chairs when the shooting began.

“He leaned forward and I don’t know where he was shot but as he leaned forward blood just started coming out of his mouth.” – Spc. Martinez, referring to one of the soldiers sitting next to her.

“I got down on the ground, just laid there and watched him shoot very consistently and it didn’t even sound like he was reloading and just calculated motion and I laid there and I watched him. I didn’t see his name but I saw his face as I watched him and it was just a cold, calculated hard stare as he just shot everything that moved.” – Martinez was one of a dozen witnesses Thursday who identified Hasan as the shooter.

“A shell casing landed on the lap top and I said ‘this is not a training exercise.’ I looked over my shoulder and that’s when I got shot.” – Staff Sgt. retired Albin Howard, who was at the medical processing center to receive shots.

“Who the f*** is yelling in my building?” – Sgt. 1st Class Maria Guerra worked in the building where the shooting occurred. She took charge after Hasan allegedly left the building. She watched Hasan from her office door, hiding inside with co-workers.

“This is not a drill! Get down, get down!” – Sgt. Ingar Parker. Many witnesses testified when the shooting began, they believed it was a drill. Parker, who worked in the building, said she immediately knew it was not. She told others to get in her office.

“Play Dead. Hold your breath.”  – Sgt. Carroll told fellow soldiers this while they lay on the ground as the shooting occurred. He was shot four times in the attack.

“It was so close you could hear the shells hit the ground.”  – Sgt. 1st Class Guerra was hiding in her office with her back against the door, listening to the shooter’s movements.

“My baby, My baby, My baby!” – Many witnesses testified hearing Pvt. Francheska Velez pleading to Hasan not to shoot her. She was in the medical processing center after returning from deployment after she discovered she was pregnant. She died in the shooting.

“If you hear this sound, you’ll never forget it, but it’s so hard to describe.” – Pvt. Lance Aviles, describing the moment he heard his ‘battle buddy,’ Pfc. Khan Xiong’s body hit the floor, dead.

“I got his arm around his neck but he was on his knees and I grabbed his hand and collar of his jacket and dragged him to the parking lot.” – Amber Bahr Gadlin describes how she helped Spc. Matthew Cooke get into a pick up truck and head to the hospital, after they realized he had been shot.

“It was so silent.” – Sgt. Guerra described the scene after the shooter had exited the building. Many described the scene as bloody, with bodies lying on the floor and metal chairs strewn around. Guerra said she ran outside and screamed, "Triage Triage Triage!, Mass Casualties!,” to alert people to come tend to wounded.

“I’m not going to make it. I’m going to die.” – Sgt. Monique Archuletta remembers Lt. Col. Juanita Warman panicking after she was shot in the attack.

“He looks like sh** but I see him.” – Pvt. Lance Abiles, in the courtroom Thursday, when asked to identify the shooter. He identified Hasan.

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