Fort Hood Survivors Speak Out

Survivors of the Fort Hood shooting describe a brutal scene in which suspected gunman Major Nidal Malik Hasan fired into unarmed crowds at close range—but their stories also include tales of heroism. Spec. Elliot Valdez, in an interview with The New York Times, likened people in the waiting room at the Soldier Readiness Processing Center to "fish in a barrel" and said that “It’s too easy. You can close your eyes and hit eight people.” Pfc. Marquest Smith, a 21-year-old father of two who was at the center to fill out paperwork, told the Times he grabbed a clerk to the ground after the shots broke out and ran from the building once he thought the attacker had run out of ammunition. Returning to drag wounded people to safety, he found himself under fire from the gunman and only narrowly escaped. “He had his back turned toward me,” Smith said. “And when I turned to run, that’s when I started hearing rounds going past my body, hitting the wall.” Another soldier, Pfc. Jeffrey Pearsall, used his pickup truck to quickly transport victims to a nearby emergency room.