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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Details of The Fort Hood Shootings
Aired November 5, 2009 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening.
We'll continue with the breaking news -- 13 dead, including the suspect, 31 wounded, at Fort Hood in Texas, in what appears to be the worst mass shooting ever on a U.S. military base.
The rampage's number one suspect is an Army major and mental health professional.
Joining us in Fort Hood, Texas is Ed Lavandera, our CNN correspondent, who's been on the scene almost immediately after this occurrence.
And on the phone is Christopher Hoag, a spokesman for Fort Hood -- Ed, anything further?
The gunman is -- the accused gunman is now dead and he is a major and a psychiatrist, is that right?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is what we've been learning here throughout this afternoon, as we've gotten the medical background of -- of the suspect, who was killed by emergency personnel arriving on the scene where this shooting was taking -- taken place.
We understand that he had worked some time at Walter Reed Medical Center and was here on this post working on a medical center on the post, as well. And we've learned from U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison that she had been told that this particular major was about to be redeployed and was angry about that.
KING: And according to the Associated Press, he received a poor performance when he worked at Walter Reed.
Have you learned that -- Ed?
LAVANDERA: That has been part of the details we've learned from some of the files that we've been able to see -- and the personnel files and the background files on -- on this suspect so that we're reporting over that, as well, to try to get any better indication as to might -- if there might have been any clues as to what drove this person to do this, if -- earlier here today at Fort Hood.
KING: Three others were taken into custody. Two were released as not being involved and one is still being held.
Is that correct? LAVANDERA: Right. And -- and two have been -- there are three suspects in all that have been taken into custody. We're waiting to hear from the lieutenant general, who could be coming out at any moment, to -- to update reporters. We're hearing a little bit of mixed signals on that third suspect, someone who might or might not still be in custody. We've heard from some officials who say that they don't believe any of these suspects had anything to do with the shooting, that they just might have been at the wrong place at the wrong time or have been seen running away from the scene and they were mistaken to have been involved in -- in some way.
So we're still trying to get to -- to the bottom of that. Some officials have been saying that that one -- that there might have been two shot shooters involved. But several others are now saying that they believe that there was one lone gunman acting alone in this case.
KING: And, of course, Ed, we'll bring you that news conference as soon as it happens.
With us on the phone is Christopher Hoag, a spokesman for Fort Hood.
Chris, how did this begin?
What -- what happened at what time?
KING: I'm sorry, we lost Chris. We lost Chris Hoag. I'm sorry. I hope we can connect back in with him -- Ed, have you pieced together how this -- how this all started?
LAVANDERA: Sure. It happened, we're told, about 1:30 Central time, 2:30 Eastern time. And that there was -- in a building called the -- the Soldier Readiness Building. And this is essentially a building that is the last point that soldiers either see as they're being deployed into the country or it's one of the first buildings they see when they're returning back to the country. This is a place where they go back for their final medical checkups, that sort of thing, if they're being deployed.
So in that building at that time, we understand that there were a number of -- of soldiers that were either being on their way to be redeployed to -- to Iraq and Afghanistan.
We also understand that there was a graduation ceremony in -- in a room adjacent to where this shooting took place. So this was a place where there were a lot of people around at the time that this shooting take -- took place, obviously, given by the numbers of dead and the wounded -- 11 killed; 12, including the gunman; and some 31 others that are being treated in local hospitals. And some of those in very serious condition -- Larry.
KING: All right, Chris Hoag, you're with us.
He's a spokesman for Fort Hood. Do we know about the...
CHRISTOPHER HOAG, SPOKESMAN, FORT HOOD: (INAUDIBLE)...
KING: Do we know about the conditions of the -- of the -- those who were wounded, but survived?
HOAG: They are varied from, you know, all -- from all the way to serious all the way to, you know, minor injuries. It's -- it's across the board.
KING: Yes, are officials trying to figure out how this happened?
Was -- were there any suspicions about this doctor?
Where was he?
How did it start, from your viewpoint?
HOAG: At this point, I don't have anything from the investigators on what their suspicions are. The only thing I have from them is that the two persons of interest that they detained earlier, they believe do not have any involvement in this incident. But they detained another individual that they do believe is involved. The original shooter has -- has passed away. He's not alive.
KING: Do you know how he was killed?
HOAG: He was shot by a civilian police officer at Fort Hood.
KING: Oh, there are civilian police officers working at the base, right?
HOAG: This is correct.
KING: Is the FBI being called in?
HOAG: The FBI is here and they are working jointly with our department of emergency services to get to the bottom of this as quickly as we can. It has been a tough day, as you know, with lots of different information. But I know that the general was going to do a press conference. There is updated information coming in constantly and he has one piece he has to verify before he can go on camera. So that's really why that's delayed.
KING: We also understand, is this correct, Chris, that the shooter had two weapons?
HOAG: We were told he had two handguns.
KING: And he would have had to have two to hit that many people, right?
HOAG: It is a lot of people.
KING: Now, according to the Associated Press, Hasan had come to authorities' attention at least six months ago because of Internet postings that discussed suicide bombings and other threats. They weren't able to link the postings to him, however.
Do you back that up?
HOAG: I have no information on that, Larry.
KING: There is no fear here of terrorism, is there -- or is there?
HOAG: They have not released any information on that one way or another. I know that General Cone will be stating on that. That's what he's trying to sort out is all those kinds of details. And I'm sure he'll be able to talk to that as soon as he goes on camera.
KING: What is the mood like at the fort now?
HOAG: Well, as you know, Fort Hood, being a post that deploys more than most any post in the US, there is a lot of shock and grief. But, at the same time, we have quite a few well -- profession -- professionally trained folks in the casualty assistance office. And they are diligently working with the families to help them get the need -- the help they need.
On post, we have a -- a resiliency campus with trained psychologists and -- and chaplains. And whatever kind of help these families need, they will definitely get.
KING: Thanks, Chris.
Christopher Hoag, a spokesman for Fort Hood.
Ed Lavandera, CNN correspondent.
We'll come back with lots more on this incredible day in Texas.
Next up, a former deputy commander from Fort Hood and a former FBI agent.
Stay right there.
KING: Joining us on the phone, Brian Kensel, former FBI agent, former military security contractor and a professor at St. Leo University criminal justice system.
And in New Orleans, General Russel Honore. General Honore is a CNN contributor and a former deputy commander of the 1st Calvary at Fort Hood.
Looking back at your -- your -- your time at Fort Hood and what you know about that place, did you ever have any concept that something like this could happen, General?
LT. GEN. RUSSEL HONORE (RET.), U.S. ARMY, FORMER DEPUTY COMMANDER, FORT HOOD: Not in my wildest dream, Larry. I mean, Fort Hood is a sanctuary for our warriors when they come back from war and when they are there with their families preparing to re-deploy, which has been our history for the last eight years. And Fort Hood has been one of the most deployed group of warriors we have in our Army. And they've been through a lot.
So this comes as a shock at our sanctuary, where our family and -- and friends live, as well as this great big Army family who's very concerned about their family and friends at Fort Hood tonight.
KING: So, obviously, General, beyond some sort of weird plot, this is obviously someone -- the suspect now dead -- of -- of a major mental problem, right?
KING: ...we can assume that, can't we?
HONORE: We can assume that. One way or the other, whether it is strictly mental or some ideology, he -- he was a -- a person with some mental -- serious mental issues. You know, we have a -- a creed in our Army -- a soldier's creed that speaks to the connection between soldiers and their battle buddy -- never to leave a worn -- a fallen soldier, to take care of one another, to respect one another.
Obviously, something went awful wrong with this major.
KING: Yes, obviously.
HONORE: Regardless of what's his motive, this -- it comes as a shock to our Army.
KING: Brian Kensel, the former FBI agent and former military security contractor, what's your read on this from the sketchy information we have?
BRIAN KENSEL, MILITARY SECURITY CONTRACTOR: Well, as you say, Larry, it's certainly preliminary information. But working off of what we do know, it would appear that this was planned out; that if, in fact, it bears out that this major had two handguns that he took into this battle, he obviously had to reload at least once, and possibly several times, just to get that many shots fired and that many people fired or shot.
Unlike Hollywood's portrayal, it usually takes more than one bullet out of a handgun to kill someone. We know we have 12 dead at this point and I understand 30 more injured. That's several magazines out of each of these weapons, most likely.
I find it sadly ironic that this took place on U.S. soil, in a place where these troops were getting ready, I think, to deploy overseas to what I'm sure they and their families thought were -- was going to be a dangerous assignment overseas where, in fact, had this probably occurred overseas, they may have had more weapons available to those -- those soldiers than they did on U.S. territory here and, in fact, might have been able to save some of the lives, if this occurred in an overseas setting, rather than in the United States.
KING: Good point.
KING: In your career, Brian, have you ever had a case involving a psychiatrist going into a mayhem situation?
KENSEL: I have not seen anybody. A major is certainly not a beginning officer -- a young recruit officer. He has been in military, obviously, for some time; has a position of, certainly, authority, as well as respect. I've certainly never seen anything of this -- this nature through my career.
KING: Is it -- doesn't it puzzle you, General, that a major would do this?
HONORE: It surprises me. It shocks me that this could come from an officer of such rank. Now, that officer may only have a few years experience, because he could have gotten a direct commission and came in as a captain. I think much of the investigation that's gone on now would prove that out.
But the fact that he had been through an assignment at Walter Reed and was retained on active duty for deployment tells me that...
KING: All right. I'm going to...
HONORE: ...he's (INAUDIBLE).
KING: I'm going to cut into you, General. Hold on.
I'm going to cut in.
We have a press conference underway.
LT. GEN. ROBERT CONE: ...sent us his condolences and offer his support for the Fort Hood and surrounding community.
The investigation is ongoing, but preliminary reports indicate there was a single shooter that was shot multiple times at the scene.
However, he was not killed, as previously reported. He is currently in custody and in stable condition. I say again, the shooter is not dead, but in custody and in stable condition.
This is a cooperative investigation of state and federal law enforcement officials. Earlier, it was reported that one victim who was killed was a female civilian officer. We now know that the female officer is alive, just out of surgery and in stable condition. She is believed to be the first responder, who shot the suspect.
At this time, the number of victims killed remains 12, with 31 injured.
At Fort Hood tonight, we're focusing on three areas -- first and foremost, the care of the wounded. Second, the security of this installation. This post is no longer locked down, as you can see, but we will continue to operate at a heightened level of security, as well as continue to investigate to ensure that no threats remain.
Third, we will continue to focus on casualty assistance efforts, including casualty notification and grief counseling.
I want to take a moment to praise the efforts of our first responders and all of the agencies who have come to support our soldiers and families in this critical time. And it is truly overwhelming, the offers of support that we have had at the national and local level in dealing with this situation.
Tomorrow at Fort Hood, we will observe a day of mourning. Fort Hood and local schools will be open and we will move back to normalcy as soon as -- as possible.
At this point, I'll take your questions.
QUESTION: General, what can you tell us about...
QUESTION: What is the shooter saying...
QUESTION: What can you tell us about...
QUESTION: ...the alleged shooter and what his motive might have been?
CONE: I think there's been a lot reported on that. I can't really tell you much other than his -- than his name of the -- of the suspect we have in custody and that is Hasan, Major Hasan.
QUESTION: Did he say anything...
QUESTION: ...did he just open fire?
CONE: I -- I have -- I have nothing to add about Major Hasan.
QUESTION: Where is he right now?
QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) any problems with him?
CONE: He is hospitalized and I have had no -- no personal background with him that I could speak of.
QUESTION: General, what about the other two...
QUESTION: ...who were taken into custody previously?
What happened to them?
CONE: As I said, in this incident, when it immediately happened, there were some eyewitness that indicated that they saw some people exiting the scene, moving into two buildings. And, again, what we took a long time to do is basically secure those buildings, question the individuals and question over 100 people at the scene that lead us to believe right now that it -- that it's a single shooter.
And, again, there is...
CONE: ...the key point I would make is that, you know, with as many people wounded, counter-intuitively, that is a concern. And that's why we've asked for assistance from federal agencies, to make sure that we have this investigation right.
CONE: There were initially three were held. All have been interviewed. And at this time, we do not -- we do not -- we single -- we believe the evidence indicates it was a single shooter.
QUESTION: Can you describe what happened, how the shooter opened fire (INAUDIBLE)?
CONE: The initial reports, again, are that the Soldier Readiness Center, where units from across this post -- and one of the points I'd make is there are -- there are a lot of units involved in this. Normally, we would have entire units all from one organization, but there are many because Thursday afternoon is a make up time, where people from all across the installation are there.
So this touches a number of units. And that's going to complicate as we do grief counseling and as we -- as we help our soldiers and families through this. It's going to make it more of a challenge and we'll be requesting additional help to deal with that.
CONE: No, they weren't. And -- and, as I say, they're from -- they're from a number of units across -- across Fort Hood that were going through this makeup readiness process in the afternoon.
I will tell you that it is a very good thing -- and, again, I -- I -- I credit the first responders. There was a college graduation ceremony. We had about 138 of our great soldiers who were graduating from college in an auditorium some 50 meters away. And thanks to the quick reaction of several soldiers, they were able to close off the doors to that auditorium, where there were some 600 people inside waiting on the college graduation for these -- for these great soldiers.
QUESTION: General, the...
CONE: I -- I don't have any -- I'm not -- I will not discuss anything about Major Hasan.
QUESTION: ...to the people that were wounded?
QUESTION: Were they all military...
CONE: Right. The preponderance of -- of them are military. There are -- there are two civilians that are involved in this. But, again, this -- this is -- I have to describe it as a very enclosed area, where basically soldiers were waiting for dental treatment, medical treatment, etc. So it was a large waiting area. And that's why, I think, you -- you get that -- that high number of casualties. And largely military people are all in this area.
QUESTION: Was it possible that he had some...
CONE: There are still evidence coming in, in terms of how this all laid out. But my understanding at this point is there are two -- two facilities right adjacent to one another where -- where the shootings took place.
QUESTION: General, can you speak to...
QUESTION: ...can you speak to the time line when he opened fire, then when he was shot and then when you were able to apprehend him?
CONE: We are reviewing that time line. But it was in a very close sequence of events in terms of -- of the response. As I say, otherwise, I think we would have had significantly more casualties.
QUESTION: General, is it your understanding he had two handguns and did all this with two pistols?
CONE: But that -- those are the initial reports from the scene is that he had two. One was a semiautic -- semi-automatic weapon, which might explain the -- the rate of fire that he apparently attained.
CONE: I would not say that's the case. There's no evidence to support that at -- at this time.
CONE: Again, this is sort of -- given the -- the number of people from disparate units, one would re -- kind of reject that hypothesis.
QUESTION: Tell us about the -- the woman who shot him.
QUESTION: Tell us about her. She seems to be a hero in this.
CONE: Well, I'm sure all those -- all that will come out. But I want to be very careful about laying this out in terms of information. There's a lot of information out there. And I apologize for taking so long to get out here, but we wanted to make sure we had what we had right.
CONE: There are a number of folks that were evacuated from -- from the area. There was a report of confusion at the hospital. And the CID agent has been with him the entire time. And we were able to -- to straighten that out here in the last hour or so.
QUESTION: Do you have any family members here?
QUESTION: ...who does she work for and what were the units who responded?
Were they civilians or...
CONE: As you know, the police force here is a combination of Department of the Army security police and military police. And there was a combination of both military policemen and Department of the Army civilian police who responded.
QUESTION: General, is the FBI on base and are they investigating (INAUDIBLE)?
CONE: Yes, the FBI...
CONE: The FBI is on base. And, again, we -- we will bring in the expertise necessary to -- to properly investigate this case.
QUESTION: Is it being investigated as a possible terrorist act?
CONE: I'm -- I couldn't rule that out. But I -- but I'm telling you that -- that right now, the evidence does not suggest that.
QUESTION: Was he targeting individuals or was it just random and he just chose them out of the blue?
CONE: I -- I don't -- I could not speculate on that.
CONE: Yes, sir?
QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) woman, she was the first responder and, you know, (INAUDIBLE).
What is your message to her tonight, you know, in her quick thinking and her ability to kind of neutralize this suspect (INAUDIBLE)...
CONE: Well, I -- I think that the on the scene reports indicate that, really, you know, God bless these soldiers and these great Department of the Army civilians. The quick reaction -- people are telling stories of soldiers ripping their uniforms apart and basically applying first aid. We have a -- we put a great investment in soldiers' first aid and taking care of each other. I'm sure this could have been much worse. As horrible as this was, I think it could have been much worse.
QUESTION: ...the weapons that were used, were they military issue (INAUDIBLE)?
CONE: There is no indication that they were military weapons.
CONE: Yes. I'm sorry.
QUESTION: He was not important (INAUDIBLE)?
CONE: Yes. I've said, I -- I can't really speak about Major Hasan.
QUESTION: Could he (INAUDIBLE)?
QUESTION: Is it accurate that Major Hasan was temporarily evacuated and hospitalized as a victim?
Is that what you're saying?
CONE: No. At -- at all times, the CID had custody of him throughout the hospitalization process.
CONE: I -- I don't want to reveal his -- his condition. But, again, I'm sure it's -- we'll have an update on that.
QUESTION: Is he speaking to investigators?
Is he speaking to investigators?
CONE: He is -- he is not currently speaking to investigators, no.
QUESTION: Do you expect him to survive?
CONE: I would say his death is not imminent.
QUESTION: General, did you say that there were soldiers that were ripping off their uniforms and treating the wounded as they were?
CONE: Right. The problem that -- that you had initially at this -- at this scene is that the shooter started. And until they could secure the scene, in terms of trying to get people in and start the casualty evacuation, there were some -- some tenuous moments in terms of trying to get in there.
So it would make sense that the soldiers who were on the scene would -- would provide first aid first, because many of them are trained as combat lifesavers.
QUESTION: Sir, were the soldiers that were in this room, would they have been armed themselves?
Or is this a place (INAUDIBLE)?
CONE: No. We would not -- as a matter of practice, we do not carry weapons. This is our home. So we do have security guards that are here, MPs and Department of the Army civilian police. But soldiers on Fort Hood do not carry weapons.
I will say that we are, as a matter of -- of assurance to the local community, we are going to increase our security presence here in the coming days. But the fact is that soldiers do not carry weapons routinely, unless they're at a training event, etc. Or something of this nature.
QUESTION: There's no way to defend themselves.
CONE: I'll take one more question.
QUESTION: What have you heard about how the (INAUDIBLE) reacted?
Did they rush to (INAUDIBLE) or (INAUDIBLE)?
CONE: I -- I've have heard anecdotal evidence, but I'm not prepared to talk to that. But suffice it to say, there was a lot -- I was personally on the scene shortly thereafter and there was -- as you would expect from the American soldier, did a -- did a tremendous job, from what I saw. And we'll have more details in terms of this, as -- as I'm certain about what I'm talking about.
The last question.
QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) are two adjacent facilities.
Are you talking about two rooms or two buildings?
CONE: No, if -- there are two buildings. There's a large building, which is the Soldier -- Soldier Readiness Center. And then there are some smaller facilities that are adjacent to it right by the entryway -- two entryways really adjacent to each other.
QUESTION: Could you describe this community, sir...
QUESTION: ...and what is (INAUDIBLE)?
CONE: Thank you very much.
QUESTION: When is your next press conference?
KING: OK. And the big story, of course, is the -- what had been reported in a news story like this, breaking all the time, reports are going to be wrong. The suspect, this major, this psychiatrist, is not dead. He was shot. He is hospitalized. He has not been interrogated by investigators yet.
Let's check quickly with Barbara Starr at the Pentagon, our CNN correspondent -- Barbara, do we have any witnesses talking yet?
BARBARA STARR, PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Larry. In fact, we have spoken to someone who was asked not to be identified, but is very well-known to us, someone we know who was in the room next to this building, adjacent where the wounded were brought in the initial seconds.
And this person tells the same anecdote that you just heard Lieutenant General Cone say -- tell. This person tells us as the wounded were brought in, soldiers were ripping their uniforms off, ripping their t-shirts off, trying to cut and rip their uniforms into shreds so they could make instant pressure bandages to try and help the wounded in those very initial seconds.
People were bleeding. Ambulances were on the way, but they weren't there yet. So these soldiers, many of them already trained for combat medicine, suddenly are, you know, called into action, doing this yet again.
This person tells us the first thing that they heard were soldiers and people there yelling, "Shots fired! Shots fired!"
This is a situation where a military population reacted, of course, very, very quickly to this.
And, as you say, Major Hasan now still alive, in stable condition, according to the general. But he also mentioned, Larry, of course, as we all heard, that it is believed one semiautomatic weapon was used in this incident, along with some other type of weapon. And, of course, that semiautomatic weapon now would make sense in terms of the rate of fire and the number of victims injured and killed in this incident -- Larry.
When we come back, Dr. Phil will offer us some psychological insights into this and we'll meet Gregory Lee, syndicated columnist, United States Army Reserves and a special agent with the Criminal Investigation Division.
Back after this.
KING: We're back.
We are happy to be able to call on our friend, Dr. Phil, the host of his own show, "New York Times" best-selling author and a -- and a member of the fraternity that is from Texas.
In fact, do you know Fort Hood?
DR. PHIL MCGRAW, TV SHOW HOST: I do. I've been there and I've spent time working with some of the widows of soldiers and widows and widowers of soldiers that were lost in Iraq and Afghanistan. So I've spent time on Fort Hood. And it's a -- it's a wonderful... KING: It's a huge base, right?
MCGRAW: It's 339 acres. It's a city within itself down there. And on any given day, you can have 30,000 or 40,000 people on the base. It truly is a city within a city and good folks. And, as the general said, it's -- it's their home. I mean this isn't a war zone, it's their home.
KING: I asked the FBI if he had -- the FBI agent if he had ever heard of a psychiatrist committing mayhem. He never had.
MCGRAW: Well, no, I have not. But, Larry, we're dealing with a very different kind of war here. And, you know, this is a man that, from what I understand, was doing all kinds of drug and rehabilitation counseling with -- with soldiers and returning soldiers. And we know that there is a tremendous degree of stress with this war. And I think the military will tell you that it's a new animal and nobody knows exactly what to do with it. And I don't know -- everything is speculation at this point. But he was apparently scheduled for deployment, did not want to go. I think he has maybe seen the problems that some of these soldiers were experiencing when they come back to try to reintegrate into society, and maybe the fear got him, and he just snapped.
You can't make sense out of nonsense. And you have to stop and think about this, Larry. How far out of touch with reality and reason do you have to go to actually pick up a weapon and kill your friends, kill your fellow soldiers, your fellow warriors? This is a major mental event. This guy was not just having a bad day. This is a serious, serious --
KING: Joining us in New York is Tom Kennif a commissioned officer with the Army National Guard's Judge Advocates General Group. He is a general with the war in Iraq, and a criminal defense attorney. In Washington, our old friend Shoshanna Johnson, former POW, U.S. Army specialist, now serves on the Advisory Panel for the Veterans Administration.
Dr. Phil is with us here in the studios in Los Angeles.
Tom, what do you make of this?
TOM KENNIF, FMR. ARMY JAG: Look, Larry, you know, with all due respect to Dr. Phil, you know, having been through the war in Iraq, and having seen what these soldiers go through, you know, with respect to this incident, I need to take a giant step back from all the psycho-babble I've been hearing for the last few hours.
Let's take a look at the facts of this situation. This is not some lower enlisted soldier. This is a major. He is a high ranking field grade officer. That means that he outranks approximately 95 percent of the military.
He has a medical -- he is a medical doctor. He is an MD. That means he occupies a position of prestige, not only within the military, but also within society at large.
He is paid well for the job he does. You know, this looks a lot less like PTSD, and a lot more like the Hassan Akbar case in 2003, where another soldier who has an Islamic last name, throws grenades randomly into tents occupied by his fellow officers, and by his fellow soldiers, for no other reason but to commit acts of terror, and to instill fear on the military installation, and to bring attention to himself.
SHOSHANA JOHNSON, FORMER POW: Hello.
KING: Are you doing, Tom -- by mentioning Islamic last name, are you doing speculating of your own?
KENNIF: I am speculating. . That's true. We have very limited information right now. But we're all speculating. And what I'm saying is my speculation seems to fit a lot more in with the reality of this case.
JOHNSON: No. No, it doesn't. No, it doesn't. I think you're talking --
KING: Hold it. Let's --
MCGRAW: I don't think you can say that. I think that's a terrible innuendo here.
JOHNSON: As someone who suffers from PTSD, I know exactly what I say to my psychiatrist. And if he is sitting back and hearing this day in and day out, the fear may get to him. The fact of the matter that he is a major, or the fact that he is a doctor doesn't excuse that he is a human being and he feels.
You're saying because he is a major in the Army that he is not going to feel the way a private does.
KENNIF: I'm saying it makes it a lot less likely --
JOHNSON: That's crap. Why does it make it less likely?
KENNIF: Because A, you don't that he has even been deployed.
JOHNSON: He hasn't been deployed.
KENNIF: Right. Let's forget PTSD then because he is not --
JOHNSON: Maybe the fact is that you're a Jag officer, and you have no idea what it's like to be in combat.
KENNIF: I spent a year in Iraq, ma'am. Have you ever been to Iraq?
JOHNSON: I'm a POW. I got shot.
KENNIF: Aye been in Iraq as well, and I respect that, and I --
JOHNSON: You stayed in the green zone. You stayed in the green zone.
KENNIF: I was never in the green zone. I was in a forward operating --
KING: One at a time. One at a time. You are both talking at the same time.
JOHNSON: This is hard to deal with every day. I'm not excusing his behavior one bit. He needs to pay for what he did to those soldiers. But for you to say that because of his education, because he was an officer, that he didn't feel the way other soldiers feel is ridiculous.
KENNIF: I never said -- I don't know whether he felt or didn't.
KING: Hold it. Tom. You did mention his Islamic last name, which I don't --
MCGRAW: I think that is irresponsible to say. I just don't think we know enough about that. All I'm saying is you have to consider this is not a well act. This is not something a rationale person goes and does.
And you can call it psycho babble. You can call it whatever you want. But well people don't pick up guns and go shoot their friends and their fellow soldiers. That just doesn't make sense.
I don't know what the origin is. That is a sick individual that would do that with fellow warriors.
KING: You're not saying --
MCGRAW: This is ridiculous.
KING: You're not saying this isn't a sick person, are you?
KENNIF: Of course, it's a sick person. People who commit terrorists attacks are sick people. I mean, no one is arguing that this is a rationale act. If he was motivated by ideology and hypothetically -- we don't know it -- but if that was an Islamic fundamentalism, you know, that doesn't make it any more rationale.
The argument isn't that he shouldn't be held accountable. The argument isn't that he is not mentally, you know -- does not have some serious mental issues. But we all seem to be jumping to the conclusion that this must be, you know, PTSD or it must be his involvement in the military that led him off the deep I understand.
Look, a lot of people go to Iraq and Afghanistan. They come back. A lot of them have issues, and a lot of them don't. If we're going to speculate as to motives, then speculating that it might be an ideological motive is just as, you know, proper as speculating that it might be PTSD or some other trauma.
JOHNSON: Insinuating something like that is dangerous.
KING: Of course, this is -- I think he is saying, of course, it's a sick act, but it could be a terroristic sick act as well.
MCGRAW: It certainly could. But you don't take the guy's last name and impugn the Islamic nation. Are you kidding me?
JOHNSON: That's ridiculous.
MCGRAW: What are you talking about? That is irresponsible. It is ridiculous to say.
JOHNSON: It's dangerous. Very dangerous.
KING: Don't go away. We'll be right back. Don't go away.
KING: Shoshana Johnson, Dr. Phil McGraw, and Tom Kennif with us. We're joined now in San Diego by Heidi Craft, a psychologist and a former lieutenant commander in the United States Navy. We now have two psychologists.
All right. Heidi, what do you make of what we've just heard in the last segment? Again, all of this supposition.
HEIDI CRAFT, FMR. NAVY PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, I think the thing that really struck me as I was listening is what has been striking me all day. And that is that regardless of motive, which will certainly be uncovered as the investigation goes on, this is an event that all of us in all the services will need to grieve and process together. It's a great loss for all of us, and I think that was made very clear. Regardless of whether we agree or disagree, we all feel this acutely.
KING: What do you make, though, of Tom's theory that it was a psychotic condition, and not look at it being a possible terrorist act? What do you make of that kind of thinking?
CRAFT: Well, I think it's impossible, as a clinician, to make that kind of even comment until I have more information about whether the person suffered from some sort of mental health issues at all. I don't have any of that information yet.
I think that one thing it does bring to light is the need to look at the stresses that face all of our care givers, all of our medical personnel and chaplains in uniform, that have been also fighting their own kind of war, with care giver fatigue, and compassion fatigue, and their vicarious traumatization, as well as the trauma they face by being in combat themselves.
KING: Tom Kennif, do you understand that?
KENNIF: Absolutely. Larry, look, it's never my argument that we should rule out any cause. That being, we shouldn't rule out that this could possibly be a terrorist attack.
I mean, look at what we know. This was an act of terror in the true sense. I mean, it's killing for the sense of killing. It's aimed at American military personnel. It takes place on a very prominent American military base.
Now, there's been reports that have come out so far, that we've heard on the news -- that granted are unfounded at this point, or unsubstantiated -- that he was being looked at for information that may have been on his computer, indicating that he may have had some radical beliefs.
Now, if that's true, then that seems to come exactly in line with my line of thinking, that this possibly could be a terrorist attack, and we need to at least look at that avenue, as well as look at the avenue brought out by Dr. Phil and Shoshawna, that he may have been suffering from some psychological episode completely unrelated to any ideological motivation.
KING: Do you understand, Dr. Phil?
MCGRAW: I do. Larry, you do have to look at all things. You don't get on national television and say somebody's last name suggests that -- these are the kind of things that get people reacting in a negative way and starting to be suspicious of their neighbors.
This man was a United States citizen. He was a Major in the Air Force. He went to Virginia Tech, for god's sake. You know, this is --
KING: Why did you say that?
KENNIF: Larry, look, I'm not pointing the finger at an ordinary citizen. This man, if the accounts are true, just killed 12 people. He just injured 30 some odd more. You know, it's ridiculous in this day and age. They weren't ordinary citizens. They were people actively fighting the war on terror. He went out and he killed innocent American soldiers whose job it is to protect our country.
In any situation where there's a mass murder of U.S. troops on U.S. soil, the first thing everybody is thinking, or should be thinking is that this was an act of terror.
Add to it the fact that there was possibly incriminating information on his computer, and, yes, add to it the fact that he has -- that he appears to be of Islamic descent, which fits within the, you know, paradigm of most international terror incidents right now. It is completely fair to put that in play.
If the facts of the case bare out that that's not correct, then fine, we will have run out that ground ball. But to say that we should completely ignore that as one factor right now, it's absurd.
MCGRAW: Everything is going to have to be looked at, Larry. There's no question about it. You don't make incendiary comments like that. This man was evaluated in April of this year when he was promoted to major. Now, either some serious warning signs were missed, or some things have really deteriorated since that time. But this was a recent promotion. And our military takes those promotions very, very seriously.
What I would like to focus on, if we can take a moment, is to talk about these families that have had these people taken from them, and talk about the people that are injured as well. Let's talk about what matters.
KING: I want to thank Tom, Shoshana and Heidi for joining us. Dr. Phil remains. When we come back, a live report direct from Ft. Hood.
KING: President Obama spoke earlier about the shootings. He called them incident tragic and a horrific outburst of violence. Let's listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My immediate thoughts and prayers are with the wounded, and with the families of the fallen, and with those who live and serve at Ft. Hood.
These are men and women who have made the selfless and courageous decision to risk, and at times give their lives to protect the rest of us on a daily basis.
It's difficult enough when we lose these brave Americans in battles overseas. It is horrifying that they should come under fire at an Army base on American soil.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: By the way, President Obama's brother Mark -- half brother Mark will be one of our guests tomorrow night when we do a program on domestic violence.
Let's speak for a couple of moments with Fran Townsend, the former Homeland Security director under President George W. Bush. How does Homeland Security react to something like this, or does it?
FRAN TOWNSEND, FMR. HOMELAND SECURITY DIRECTOR: Well, actually, Larry, what I'm told is earlier this evening, Secretary Gates, Admiral Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chief, and director Bob Mueller of the FBI met at the White House and briefed the president.
Around 7:30 in the evening, my successor, John Brennan, the current president's Homeland Security advisor, had an inter-agency secure video conference to gather additional information.
They're doing all the things you would expect them to do, Larry, to try and understand the motivations of this horrific act. For example, they'll do physical searches. They'll do computer and communication searches, to try and understand who was he talking to, what influenced him, what could have motivated him to do this.
Now, every morning, tomorrow morning included, the president has a daily brief. And I'm told by sources at the White House that that brief will be expanded in the morning, that that will include Director Mueller and likely Secretary Gates and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
Bob Mueller, the director of the FBI, has deployed a senior agent down to Texas to lead the investigation for the FBI. He will work cooperatively with DOD. We heard from the general in charge of the base that the Criminal Investigate Division has custody of the suspect at the moment. They'll probably share that with the FBI, who lead this investigation.
The investigation will also be supported by the FBI's field office in San Antonio.
KING: We will learn a lot more having the suspect alive, will we not?
TOWNSEND: That's exactly right.
KING: Or should.
TOWNSEND: We should. The real -- the first question will be whether or not he is going to be willing to talk to investigators. Obviously, what you want to do is have consistency. And we understood from the general on the base that he has not spoken to the Criminal Investigative Division. It may be that he is too sick.
He was very unclear about what his current status is. We don't even know if he is conscious, although he said he was stable. What will happen is you'll get the FBI investigative team down there, who has experience doing these interviews. And they'll try to see if this guy is willing to talk.
He could invoke his right to a lawyer, in which case the FBI agents will be out of luck. And we'll have to put this investigation together without his help.
KING: Thank you, Fran Townsend, the former Homeland Security director of the administration of George W. Bush.
As we learn this hour, the alleged shooter is alive. Let's just be clear about this. This was not a CNN mistake for four hours. We reported what the colonel said on camera to the world, and then somehow they didn't tell us what they obviously knew for hours. You have the right to know why we definitively reported he was dead.
CNN is pressing the military to explain why they waited until after 9:00 p.m. Eastern to tell us that he was alive and in stable condition. We'll be right back.
(NEWS BREAK) KING: Before we get back with Dr. Phil, Brian Todd is at Walter Reed Hospital. What's the situation there, Brian?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Larry, officials here at the Defense Department, here at Walter Reed, and elsewhere in the U.S. government giving us a little bit of background on Major Hasan's record here. We have gotten information from his military record.
He spent six years at the facility behind me, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, doing his internship, residency and fellowship in psychiatry. Did a lot of training here from 2003 to July of this year, when he was transferred to Darnell Medical Center at Ft. Hood.
Going further back, we got some information on him as well. He's 39 years old, a Virginia native. Got his medical license in the state of Virginia. Went to Virginia Tech University. Got a degree in biochemistry from there.
Then did all of his medical training in the United States military at the Uniform Services University of Health Science, also called USUHS, in Bethesda, Maryland, not far from here.
Also Larry, we have some personal information about him from a former neighbor of his, a lady who lived down the hall from him in an apartment building in Silver Spring, Maryland, also not far from here. This woman did not want her name to be used on the air. She said she lived down the hall from Major Hasan and a man who she believed at the time to be his brother until he moved this Summer.
She described both of them as being very nice, kind of cool, calm individuals. But with somewhat of a religious bearing, not over- bearing, but did have a religious bearing in nature. She said that they had some kind of a banner on their apartment door that had a Muslim inscription on it, what appeared to be Muslim inscription.
Again, she said they were not over-bearing in that regard. Very cool and calm guys. She said she was shocked by this occurrence, Larry.
KING: Thanks. Brian Todd on the scene. When we come back, Dr. Phil and a former FBI profiler will wrap it up.
KING: Before Dr. Phil tells us about the victims, Jim Clemente, retired FBI profiler, will join us for a moment to tell us, on the early readings, do you have any read on this?
JIM CLEMENTE, FMR. FBI PROFILER: Well, it's very early. We really shouldn't speculate as to what happened. The possibilities are that he suffered some psychotic, all the way to some pre-planned, extensively pre-planned crime.
So what we'll do -- the FBI will assist, I'm sure, in this investigation. The profilers will look and do an indirect personality assessment of him, and get into the victimology. Study the victims and see if there's any connection between him and the victims and any motive that might be evident from that.
It could be ideological. It could be cultural. It could be vengeful. It could be sensational. It could be a combination of any of those. So, as Fran said, we'll do a deep data dive on this guy and we'll see what exactly we can find out as his -- as to his motive.
KING: Thanks, Jim. Jim will be with us the next two hours. Maybe back later at the midnight edition of LARRY KING LIVE.
Dr. Phil, what about the victims?
MCGRAW: You know, when something like that happens, Larry, there's so much focus on the perpetrator here, because that's the big event. And I don't want any of us to forget these families of the wounded and those that have lost their lives here. You know, when you lose somebody that's at war and in harm's way, you almost kind of brace yourself for the possibility, at least, not that that makes it easy.
But when you're at home and people are in the safety of their own base and then something like this happens, the shock is just overwhelming. And I've been on -- in if Ft. hood. I know those people down there will reach out to these folks and comfort them.
And when this has happened, I've had so many people make comments to me today, particularly when they knew I was coming here. This may be a controversial war. But there is nothing controversial about the men and women in the military. This is a volunteer Army, people that make a conscious decision to stand, to defend our country.
And I just want everybody there, if they're watching this, to know that they're in our hearts and prayers. And I ask everybody to put them on their prayer list tonight.
KING: We only have 30 seconds. You go to war, OK. Maybe you'll die in war. You don't expect to die on your home base.
MCGRAW: And that's what's so shocking about this. And I know that the men and women that are surviving are just truly in shock tonight. But let me tell you, Ft. Hood is a community. And they will close ranks around these people, love them and lift them up, and just know you're in my prayers. I think everyone around the world, you're in our prayers.
KING: Thanks, Dr. Phil. You made a great contribution to us tonight. It's my wife's 50th birthday today. So a major dinner that I'm hosting is planned. So I thank Wolf Blitzer, who will sit in on the second edition of LARRY KING LIVE at Midnight Eastern. We'll be back live then, with Wolf as host.
Meanwhile, a special live two hour edition of "AC 360: starts right now with Anderson Cooper. Anderson?