Pregnant Soldier Shot, Others Wounded at Fort Hood

Kimberly Reilly

At Ford Hood, Texas on November 5 of last year, a brave soldier expecting a child was shot in a run riot. Before a bullet pierced into her skin, she was terribly worried about what was about to happen. Pvt. Francheska Velez took the only action she could think of at the time: hide in a chair, trying to get away from the shooter in the fetal position. There was only one thing on this frightened pregnant soldier’s mind, and that was the fact that her baby was in serious danger. She did not know what to do, except get away as soon as possible. She tried to proceed carefully, not knowing what would be the outcome of this tragic event. However, she was one out of thirteen unfortunate soldiers, who did not make it out of the “worst mass shooting on an American military base.”

Being an important witness and fellow soldier to Velez, Spc. Jonathan Sims happened to be chosen to testify at “an Article 32 hearing,” along with Spc. Dayna Roscoe. Roscoe was a soldier who had also been shot in the arm and in the leg. Both will have to help testify against the Army psychiatrist, Maj. Nidal Hasan, who is on trial and accused of thirty two counts of attempted premeditated murder and thirteen counts of premeditated murder. Sims and Roscoe were surviving soldiers of the attack, having been in the medical building where all of the shooting occurred.

Justin Johnson, another soldier and witness said that the attacker “…was aiming his weapon on the ground and he started shooting, and he was hitting people that were trying to get away. It didn’t seem he was targeting a specific person. He was just shooting at anybody.” (Associated Press)

Although these soldiers were helpful witnesses, none of them were told to specifically identify Hasan as the suspect in court. Some soldiers even considered thought that this whole tragedy was a training exercise to prepare them for the worst case scenarios. Interestingly, Sgt. 1st Class Miguel Valdivia had assumed this whole event was all a drill, until he had been shot three times. He confessed to the court: “when I saw my own blood, then I realized it was real.” (Associated Press) After that, he was asked in regards to Hasan and if he initially told investigators that he had a blank expression on his face. This could have meant that he was not mentally there. Afterwards, Valdivia confirmed that, “the shooter’s expression was similar to how a drill sergeant looked at me at boot camp.” (Associated Press)

As a result, the accused Army psychiatrist, paralyzed from the chest down after being shot, still resides in jail. An investigating officer of the case, Col. James L. Pohl, will be suggesting whether or not Hasan must go to trial. Ultimately, the commanding general will make the drastic choice of deciding if Hasan deserves the death penalty.