13 Nov 2009

Murder charges laid in US army shooting rampage

5:24 pm on 13 November 2009

A United States Army psychiatrist suspected of killing 13 people in a shooting spree at a military base in Texas has been charged with murder.

An Army spokesperson confirmed the charges have been laid against Major Nidal Malik Hasan, 39, following the deaths at Fort Hood base last week.

At least 29 people were also injured in the attack including Major Hasan, who was shot by police and remains in hospital. He has refused to speak to investigators, the BBC reports.

US President Barack Obama has ordered a review after US intelligence authorities said they knew Major Hasan had been in contact with a cleric sympathetic to al-Qaeda.

Major Hasan was said to be unhappy about a possible deployment to Afghanistan.

The shootings took place at the base's Soldiers Readiness Processing Center, where troops get medical check-ups before deploying overseas.

The murder charges carry the death penalty upon conviction. The Army is not ruling out laying further charges.

Obama orders review

President Obama has ordered a review of how American intelligence agencies handled information they may have gathered about Major Hasan, following questions about whether authorities may have missed warning signs about him.

Intelligence agencies learned Major Hasan had contacts with an Islamist sympathetic to al-Qaeda and relayed the information to law enforcement authorities before last week's attack.

Officials have said no action was taken.

Mr Obama wants to know how information about Major Hasan was handled and shared between US intelligence agencies and other government departments.