A BLINDED survivor of a mass shooting at a US military base came face to face with his attacker yesterday.
This came during a military court hearing to determine whether the army psychiatrist will face trial and a possible death penalty.
Sergeant Alonzo Lunsford, 20, an army medic, described the moment his eyes locked with those of Major Nidal Hasan seconds before he was shot. Major Hasan faces 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 of attempted murder for the attack at Fort Hood, Texas, on November 5 last year.
Sergeant Lunsford described how Major Hasan walked calmly into the Soldier Medical Readiness Centre at Fort Hood, where service personnel were being prepared for deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Major Hasan, an army psychiatrist, “walked up to a civilian female, said something to her, she gets up and leaves”, Sergeant Lunsford told the courtroom. Moments later he shouted “Allahu Akbar”, pulled out his gun and started firing.
The sergeant said the first targets were members of the unit preparing to deploy to Afghanistan with Major Hasan. He described how one soldier used a chair to try to bring down the gunman but was shot dead. Sergeant Lunsford said he was searching for an escape route when his eyes met the attacker’s.
“I looked at the distance from where I was laying to the back door . . . When I stood up, Major Hasan and I made eye contact. He looked at me; I looked at him. He raises his weapon and the laser comes across my line of sight, I closed my eyes and he discharged the weapon. I got hit in the head; I drop.”
Sergeant Lunsford was also shot four times in the stomach but remained conscious. “As I am laying on the floor, I think . . . I’m too big to play dead. I get up and run out the doors.”