As he methodically moved around the room, he spared some people while firing on others several times. He seemed to discriminate among his targets, though it is unclear why. All but one of the dead were soldiers.
“Our witnesses said he made eye contact with a guy and then moved to somebody in uniform,” said Representative K. Michael Conaway, Republican of Texas.
He fired more than 100 rounds.
The intermittent firing gave some soldiers false hope as they hunkered down in the processing center, flattening themselves under tables and propping chairs against flimsy cubicle doors.
Witnesses said that the floor became drenched with blood and that soldiers, apparently dead, were draped over chairs in the waiting area or lying on the floor.
Specialist Matthew Cooke, 30, who was expecting orders to leave for Afghanistan in January, was waiting in line to be processed in the medical building when Major Hasan opened fire. A soldier standing near him was hit and crumpled to the ground, and Specialist Cooke dropped to his knees and leaned over the soldier to shield him from being struck again, Specialist Cooke’s father, Carl, said in an interview.
Major Hasan walked up to Specialist Cooke, who had previously done a tour in Iraq, pointed his gun down at his back and shot him several times, Mr. Cooke said. “The rounds nicked his colon and several places in his intestines, bladder and spleen,” he said, but the specialist survived.
Cpl. Nathan Hewitt, 27, thought that he was in an unannounced training exercise when he heard the gunfire erupt. Then he saw the blood on his thigh and felt the sting from the bullet that hit him, said his father, Steven Hewitt.
The shooting stopped momentarily, and Corporal Hewitt started to crawl out of the room on his belly with others following. Major Hasan was only reloading. He started to shoot again, hitting Corporal Hewitt in the calf.
The first police officers to arrive found Major Hasan chasing a wounded soldier outside the building, investigators said. Pulling up in a squad car, Sgt. Kimberly D. Munley went after him and shot him in an exchange of gunfire that left her wounded.
It was 1:27 p.m.