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Fort Hood witness says he feared there were more gunmen

By Charley Keyes, CNN
Testimony continues Wednesday in the military hearing of  accused Fort Hood shooter, Army Maj. Nidal Hasan.
Testimony continues Wednesday in the military hearing of accused Fort Hood shooter, Army Maj. Nidal Hasan.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A witness says he saw the red laser from the gunsight flickering in his eyes
  • Another says it "sounded like thousands of shots being fired" in the final standoff
  • A CID investigator says Hasan still had "30- and 20-round magazines" at the end

Fort Hood, Texas (CNN) -- An Army officer testifying at a military hearing Wednesday that he first thought the rapid rate of gunfire suggested there was more than one shooter in last November's Fort Hood massacre.

Maj. Stephen Richter of the Army Medical Corps told in chilling detail that he felt the shooter stalking him and could see the red laser from the gunsight flickering in his eyes.

He said the gunman then turned away from him, distracted by gunfire from the civilian police officers who had rushed to the scene.

Richter, testifying via video link from South Korea, said all the shooting ceased when Maj. Nidal Hasan was brought down by police fire. Hasan is charged with killing 13 people and wounding dozens of others in the rampage.

Richter said he called out when he saw the gunman's uniform and identification badge. "I remember saying to the police officer, 'He is one of us,'" Richter said.

Still convinced there were other shooters, Richter said that after Hasan was felled by the police fire, he grabbed Hasan's handgun off the ground and prepared to fire it himself at any additional attackers. The gun was jammed, he said, and he burned his fingers on the barrel as he tried to clear it.

The barrel was hot from firing what apparently was scores of rounds.

In earlier testimony, Army Criminal Investigation Division special agent Kelly Jameson said 146 spent shell casings had been collected. Sources close the prosecution later clarified that he was referring only to those found inside the building where the shooting began. Another 68 were collected outside, for a total of 214, they said.

And Army investigators said Wednesday that the gunman still had 177 rounds on him when he was shot by police.

Video: Hasan heads to military court
Video: Emotional testimony at Ft. Hood hearing

The two police officers also testified Wednesday. One of them, Maj. Mark Todd, testified that he found extra magazines and a second handgun, a revolver, after Hasan was shot four times.

Todd and his fellow civilian police officer, Sgt. Kim Munley, described the gunfight outside the building where the final stand-off occurred.

"I challenged him, 'Halt, military police, drop your weapon,'" Todd said. "He raised his weapon and fired."

Munley, who was widely praised for her role in ending the shooting, admitted that she did not know how many times she had hit the gunman.

"I did not see him fall from my shots. No," Munley said.

During her testimony, prosecutors showed a video automatically recorded by a camera mounted on the dashboard in her police car as she raced toward the shooting. In addition to the sound of sirens wailing and fast driving on the way to the scene, the video shows Munley dashing out of her vehicle and bystanders pointing to where the shooter was.

Munley is then seen racing off camera. Moments later the tape provides clear audio of repeated gunfire.

A separate police car "dash-cam" was introduced during Todd's testimony, but because of a technical glitch there was no audio. Neither police camera recorded the video of the final confrontation.

Munley said she exchanged fire with the gunman and was injured herself. She told of the difficulty of getting off an accurate shot at the start of the confrontation because of people in the background.

In the final moments, "I realized he was closing in," Munley said. "We began to exchange fire again. He was shooting and I was returning fire."

After she was wounded three times, Munley was on the ground and her police weapon "malfunctioned," she testified. The gunman walked up and kicked her weapon away. He did not shoot her again and Munley said he appeared to be having problems with his own weapon.

She described the man, whom she identified as Hasan, as solemn, with no expression, a description other witnesses have described in the previous days.

Listening to her testimony Wednesday, Hasan gave no reaction, occasionally looking down. He wore his usual fleece watch-cap pulled low on his brow and had a blanket bunched up around his shoulders.

Munley said she remains on medical leave but expects to return to work on November 1.

The defense spent longer in cross-examining Munley than any of the other more than 50 witnesses heard so far in this Article 32 hearing, pointing up small differences between her testimony and what she told investigators immediately after the shootings.

During the period of the final shots, Todd made repeated calls for Hasan to drop his gun.

He said the gunshots seemed to echo between the buildings. "It sounded like thousands of shots being fired," he said.

Asked whether he knew if he hit Hasan, Todd replied, "I see [sic] him wince a couple of times."

In the end, Hasan fell to the ground, and Todd ran up, kicked his gun away, turned him over on his stomach and searched him. That's when he found the additional gun, extra ammunition magazines and a cell phone.

New testimony shows that the deadly massacre could have been much worse if Munley and Todd had not arrived when they did.

Army Criminal Investigation Division officer Duane Mitchell said 177 unexpended rounds were recovered from Hasan in both 30- and 20-round magazines. He also explained that he had two gun sights to help him shoot accurately: a red laser gunsight for low-light conditions and a second green laser, which is most effective in sunlight.

Mitchell showed receipts found in Hasan's car for gunsight batteries, providing a glimpse into the planning for the attack.

At the end of the morning session, the defense entered objections to the introduction of autopsy reports for the 13 fatalities, saying they had been denied funding for an independent pathologist.

The investigating officer, Col. James Pohl, who acts as the presiding judge in the case, said he would receive the autopsy reports only to identify the victims and their cause of death.

Nine people died after being shot in the Army medical processing center and four more died after they were rushed to the base hospital.

The prosecution said it planned to complete presenting its case on Thursday. The defense has been told it can take up its case November 8. A pause of at least one week in the proceedings had been planned to allow Fort Hood to mark one year since the shooting and to honor the victims and those soldiers and civilians who exhibited special heroism.

An Article 32 hearing determines if there is enough evidence to proceed to a court-martial.

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