THE army major accused of massacring up to 13 fellow US soldiers and wounding 31 others during a shooting rampage is being held in custody and reportedly in a stable condition after being shot multiple times.
The gunman's condition came as a surprise after military officials first reported that he was among the dead following a quick response by military police at the massive US military base.
Malik Nadal Hasan, 39, a military psychiatrist, was believed to be unhappy about recent orders to serve in Iraq.
General Bob Cone has confirmed that the major launched a sudden attack using two handguns in a heavily populated medical checkup area at the Soldier Readiness Centre at Fort Hood.
One of the handguns was a semi-automatic weapon, enabling rapid fire before a female soldier returned fire.
The woman had already been wounded when she ended Malik's shooting spree.
General Cone did not rule out terrorism as a motive, but said that the evidence did not indicate that it was linked to terrorism.
Asked if the major was in danger of dying, he said: "I would say his death is not imminent."
Hasan, a US Muslim of Palestinian origin who joined the military against his parents' wishes, also battled harassment based on his "Middle Eastern ethnicity,'' according to his cousin Nader Hasan, and was seeking to leave the military.
"He hired a military attorney to try to have the issue resolved, pay back the government, to get out of the military. He was at the end of trying everything,'' Hasan told Fox News.
While living in Washington DC, he attended prayers at a local Muslim community center at least once a day, seven days a week, according to Maryland imam Faizul Khan.
Khan, a former imam at the center, told The Washington Post that Hasan was "very devout,'' and asked him various religious questions.
"But there was nothing extremist in his questions. He never showed any frustration... He never showed any... wish for vengeance on anybody,'' Khan said.
A former colleague of Hasan's disagreed, saying the Army major had expressed a desire to see Muslims "fight against the aggressor.''
"He said, maybe the Muslims should stand up and fight against the aggressor, at first we thought he was talking about how Muslims should stand up and help the armed forces in Iraq and in Afghanistan, but apparently that wasn't the case,'' Colonel Terry Lee told Fox News.
Source: The Australian