Just in from CNN:
October 13, 2010 11:47 a.m. EDT
Fort Hood, Texas (CNN) — The first witness in the Fort Hood massacre hearing gave a chilling account Wednesday of how he and others were shot last November.
Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford, speaking on the second day of the Article 32 hearing, said Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan pulled a weapon from underneath his uniform and began firing.
Hasan is charged with the murder of 13 people at Fort Hood on November 5 and the wounding of 32 others.
“I noticed the weapon he was firing had an infrared sight, like a laser sight on the weapon,” Lunsford said. “He was aiming at the soldiers.”
Banging on the desk with his fist, Lunsford tried to describe the rate of firing from Hasan’s weapon.
“Rate of fire was like this,” he said with a steady knocking sound. “Steady rate of fire.”
Lunsford told how one person tried to hit Hasan with a chair just before he was shot.
He said he had tried to escape, but he and Hasan’s eyes locked as he tried to run. “He discharged his weapon. … I got shot in the head,” Lunsford said.
After he fell to the ground, Lunsford said, he continued to observe the firing. He later managed to escape the building.
At the prosecutor’s request, Lunsford stood up, pointed to Hasan — who had been brought into the courtroom in a wheelchair — and identified him as the person he saw shooting. Lunsford said he had met Hasan the month before the shootings at a base medical center.
The dramatic testimony followed a stop-and-start beginning to the evidentiary hearing, known as an Article 32 hearing. On Tuesday the presiding officer, Col. James Pohl, allowed the proceedings to run only minutes before calling a recess.
The defense had tried to have the hearing delayed until November 8, but Pohl pushed forward Wednesday.
The defense team submitted a request for information on a variety of federal investigations on the shootings that so far have not been made public.
The investigations by various branches of the federal government, including the Department of Defense, were looking into what was known of Hasan before last year, what contact he had with Islamic radicals overseas and how and why he was evaluated, promoted and transferred from Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington to Fort Hood. Army prosecutors said some of that information will be made available to the defense team in coming weeks.
A few journalists were selected by lottery to sit inside the courtroom in a one-story court building at Fort Hood, the largest Army base in the United States. Other journalists, in a temporary press center in a building 200 yards away on the central Texas base, are allowed to watch a video feed from a camera showing only the presiding officer. There is no other view of the courtroom.