By GARY BAUMGARTEN in New York
With additional reporting from JAMES HICKMAN in Texas
Paltalk News Network
President Obama says it's too early to know exactly what motivated yesterday's shootings at Fort Hood, Texas.
Speaking to reporters outside the White House, the president cautioned about "jumping to conclusions."
Obama emphasized that this was the act of one individual and said he has ordered flags at all government facilities lowered to half staff from now until Veteran's Day.
Thirteen people are dead, 30 others wounded, as a result of the shooting spree, allegedly by an Army psychiatrist. One of the dead is identified as a civilian, the others are soldiers.
Authorities now say they are certain that the suspected gunman, Maj.Nidal Malik Hasan was working alone and that the weapons he allegedly used were his personal guns. They are declining to speculate on a motive but will release it once the investigation is completed.
The police officer who shot Hasan and was, herself, wounded, is in stable condition in a hospital, as is Hasan and as are the others who were shot in the spree.
Investigators are trying to determine if the guns that were used were properly registered.
"Soldiers are allowed to maintain privately owned weapons," Col. John Rossi said this morning at a briefing from Fort Hood. "We are looking now to see if it was registered on the post." Rossi said random checks are made on vehicles coming through the gate but, "in this case he could have just brought it onto the base."
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates expressed his condolences to the families of those who were killed. “I am deeply saddened by the tragic events today at Fort Hood," he said. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the fallen, the wounded, and all those touched by this incident."
Organizations like the Council on American Islamic Relations are expressing concern about questions that are being raised about the loyalties of the alleged shooter who is a Muslim. Witnesses report that the gunman shouted "God is great" in Arabic while opening fire.
An active-duty Marine, interviewed on News Talk Online on the Paltalk News Network, who has served in Iraq and Africa said that his commanding officer is a Muslim-American and he can't think of anyone he'd rather follow into battle.
Paltalk News Network's James Hickman reports from Texas that Hasan, had recently been transfered to Fort Hood after six years at Walter Reed and was about to be deployed. He reports that Hasan received poor performance reviews while at Walter Reed.
Military sources say that Hasan objected to his deployment orders.
Fort Hood which is one of the largest military bases in the world was on lock down until 6 p.m. central time Thursday along with schools in the area. Agents from the ATF and FBI responded to the post. The base is near Killeen, Texas where in 1991 a gunman shot and killed 23 people at a Luby’s restaurant.
Speaking in Washington, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad condemned the shootings, terming them a "cowardly act." Awad said that Muslims are just as enraged and saddened about what happened as others in the United States.
“No political or religious ideology could ever justify or excuse such wanton and indiscriminate violence," he said. "The attack was particularly heinous in that it targeted our nation’s all-volunteer army that includes thousands of Muslims in all services."
Awad cautioned about speculating about the motive for the shootings. "We urge all Americans to remain calm in reaction to this tragic event and to demonstrate once again what is best about America - our nation’s ability to remain unified even in times of crisis. We urge national political and religious leaders and media professionals to set a tone of calm and unity."
But Awad also advised American Muslims to "take appropriate precautions to protect themselves, their families and their religious institutions from possible backlash."