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Ken Kalthoff, NBC 5 News
There has been more dramatic court testimony today from soldiers who survived the Fort Hood rampage. They've identified Major Nidal Hasan as the shooter and some have described how they first thought the gunfire was some kind of training exercise. The recording of a frantic 911 call was also heard in the courtroom Monday morning.
The recording of a frantic 911 call was heard in the courtroom Monday morning during Day 5 of the Fort Hood mass shooting trial of U.S. Army Psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan.
On the witness stand, former Army nurse Shemeka Hairston wiped tears from her face as she listened to the call she made from her cell phone on Nov. 5, 2009.
Hysterical sobbing and screaming, and occasional pops, could be heard in the background on the call as the operator tried to get Hairston to explain where she was and what was happening.
Hairston, said she was wearing white scrubs that day and was hiding under a desk with soldiers in fatigues.
She said the shooting stopped briefly, one of the soldiers stood up to look around, the shooting started again and he fell down.
Hairston said she never saw that soldier alive again.
Spc. Johnathan Sims said he was sitting in a waiting area of the medical processing office when he and two other soldiers seated beside him were shot.
One was a female soldier, Pvt. Francheska Velez, who told him she was pregnant.
“I see the female soldier, curled up in a fetal position, holding her stomach crying, 'My baby, my baby,” Sims said.
Velez, and her unborn baby, were among the 13 people killed that day.
Spc. Joseph Foster said he heard a man shout “Allah Akbar” and begin shooting.
“I had slumped in my chair when his weapon turned toward me,” Foster said.
“His laser came across me, that’s when I felt a sharp pain in my hip,” he said.
Foster escaped during a break in the shooting that day and the bullet later removed from his leg was among the pieces of evidence admitted in the trial Monday.
In addition to 13 counts of premeditated murder, Hasan also faces 32 counts of attempted murder.
The government has a list of 170 witnesses to help prove all of those charges.
Hasan is representing himself in the trial and has asked hardly any questions of the witnesses so far.
Two of Hasan’s three stand-by defense lawyers that were excused from the courtroom Friday were back in court Monday morning.
They were excused to prepare an appeal of the judge’s order that they continue standing by Hasan.
The defense lawyers claim Hasan’s approach amounts to helping prosecutors win a death sentence and they object to participating on ethical grounds.
One of the lawyers was excused from court again Monday, this time with instructions from Hasan for outside work on the case.
The trial was expected to last months but could end much faster since Hasan is asking so few questions of the witnesses.
He has indicated his defense will consist of just two witnesses.