Published November 09, 2009
KILLEEN, Texas – The Army psychiatrist authorities say killed 13 people and wounded 29 others at the Fort Hood Army Base Thursday was a recent and frequent customer at a local strip club, employees of the club told FoxNews.com exclusively.
Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan came into the Starz strip club not far from the base at least three times in the past month, the club's general manager, Matthew Jones, told FoxNews.com. Army investigators building their case against Hasan plan to interview Jones soon.
"The last time he was here, I remember checking his military ID at the door, and he paid his $15 cover and stayed for six or seven hours," Jones, 37, said.
Hasan's presence at the club paints a starkly different portrait of the alleged killer from that offered by his imam and family members, who have described him as a devout Muslim, and one who had difficulty finding a wife who would wear a head scarf and would pray five times a day.
Starz is a strip club located just down the road from the main gate entrance to the Fort Hood Base. It does not serve alcohol, but customers bring their own beer and liquor and buy ice buckets and mixers at the club.
Hasan sat at a table in the back corner of the club, to the left of the stage on which strippers dance around a pole, employees said.
Jennifer Jenner, who works at Starz using the stage name Paige, said Hasan bought a lap dance from her two nights in a row. She said he paid $50 for a dance lasting three songs in one of the club's private rooms on Oct. 29 and Oct. 30.
"I remembered his face because it was the first lap dance I [gave] to a customer while working here," she said. "When I saw his face [Friday] on TV, I jumped out of bed, I knew it was him."
Jenner, 31, said Hasan was dressed casually both nights he came to the club - in jeans and a T-shirt the first night and then wearing a baseball cap the next. She recalled that he arrived at about 6:30 p.m. and stayed until 2 a.m. She said he brought in a six pack of light beer, took only a few sips from one can and gave the rest to the strippers.
"He preferred the blondes," said Jenner, whose hair was dyed blond at the time. "He said he was a medic and that he was being deployed soon, but mostly he wanted to ask us questions."
"He asked us why we were working at the strip club, if we liked the lifestyle, if we had any kids," she said. "It was right before Halloween so he asked what our kids were dressing up as. He just wanted to know a lot about us."
Jenner said she asked Hasan why he liked coming to Starz instead of another of the roughly half a dozen other clubs nearby, all about an 8-minute drive from the Army base.
"I like it here because no one I work with is here," she said Hasan replied.
Starz is smaller than most of the other clubs, has only about 10 dancers and caters to a louder crowd. Jenner said Army medics generally don't hang out at the club.
"He wasnt too loud like some of our other customers, or sleazy. He didn't try to take any of us home and he was respectful," she said. "I think he mostly came here to kill some time and just relax. He stood out here because he was much more reserved than our other customers.
"I just can't believe that he's the one who killed all those people. You know, he tipped every girl as she came off the stage after her dance. He was a really good tipper."