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Monday, January 21, 2019

FORT HOOD, Texas (AFP) – A steely-eyed sergeant stared down the U.S. Army psychiatrist she saw slaughtering their fellow soldiers on a Texas military base as she delivered graphic testimony in court Thursday.

Major Nidal Hasan, who admitted to being the shooter in his opening statements, could face the death penalty if convicted of killing 13 people and wounding dozens more in the 2009 Fort Hood massacre.

At least three people were shot as they charged at Hasan in order to end the carnage. Hasan was eventually stopped by a police officer who was also injured in a gunfight which left Hasan paralyzed from the waist down.

Sergeant Maria Guerra pointed directly at Hasan — who is representing himself at trial — and identified him as the man she saw deftly reloading his weapon in a room filled with gunsmoke.

“I see bodies,” Guerra said as she described the aftermath on the second full day of the high-profile trial. “I see bodies everywhere. I see blood. No one is moving.”

One of the images burned into her mind was of Private Aaron Nemelka, who was killed before he could even jump up from his chair.

“He was white. That’s what sticks out with me. He was white as a ghost,” Guerra told the court.

The Fort Hood killings prompted calls for stronger safeguards against internal security threats and “homegrown” terror attacks.

Now aged 42, Hasan was due to deploy to Afghanistan weeks after the attack. He has said he shot the soldiers — and several civilians working in the center — to protect his fellow Muslims from an “illegal” war.

Specialist Meagan Martinez, told the court that when she first heard the shots she thought it was just a drill.

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