Heroic civilian police officer 'walked up and engaged' shooter

As investigations into the the Nov. 5 massacre at the Fort Hood, Tex. army base ensue, the military community deals with the realities of violence at home and abroad.
By Greg Jaffe and Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, November 6, 2009; 6:50 PM

FORT HOOD, Tex. -- Sgt. Kimberly Munley, a civilian police officer on this Army post, was taking her vehicle to be serviced Thursday when the killing began.

Inside a soldier readiness facility, Maj. Nidal M. Hasan opened fire with two handguns, officials said. The gunfire was continuous, methodical and well-aimed. Unarmed soldiers who had been waiting for medical appointments scattered or dropped to the floor.

Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, shouted "Allahu Akhbar!" -- "God is great" in Arabic -- and emptied as many as six magazines during the rampage, according to Lt. Gen. Robert Cone and other Army officials.

Police officers began racing toward the scene. Among them was Munley, 34 years old and trained in tactics developed in the wake of the Columbine massacre. She arrived at 1:27 p.m., about four minutes after the first 911 call, as Hasan was fleeing the building, according to official accounts.

Munley rounded a corner and fired twice at Hasan. He fired back and charged at her, according to the accounts. Munley dropped to the ground in a protective position and continued firing.

At some point, Hasan began to fumble with his gun. "He's reloading," someone screamed, according to an officer on the scene.

In the exchange, Munley was struck in both thighs and one wrist. Hasan was shot four times, including at least once in the torso.

Hasan, 39, is hospitalized and remained on a ventilator Friday. He is suspected of acting alone in a rampage that killed 13 people and wounded at least 30 others. Investigators were searching for a motive Friday, but relatives said Hasan was unhappy about his upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.

By some accounts, other police officers might also have fired at Hasan. Army officials, however, said credit for stopping the gunman belonged primarily to Munley, who remained hospitalized Friday in stable condition.

Her actions quickly made her a hero to colleagues and strangers alike, as online discussion groups, police union officials and others praised her decisive role in felling the alleged gunman.

"She walked up and engaged him," Cone said. "It was an amazing and an aggressive performance by this police officer."

When the shooting stopped, Hasan was carried out and laid on the ground in front of the center with some of the other severely wounded soldiers.

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