Survivors of the Fort Hood massacre say they expected the accused shooter, Maj. Nidal Hasan, to “come in and finish the job,” according to exclusive interviews to be broadcast on "Fox Files: The Enemy Within."
“I saw the muzzle of the weapon pointed at me about six feet away,” Pvt. George Stratton III told Fox News in his first TV interview since the Nov. 5, 2009, shooting that killed 13 and injured more than 43 others.
Stratton, who had just turned 18 at the time of the shooting, said the readiness center was turned into a battlefield bathed in blood, as the wounded crawled to the exit doors to save themselves.
“As soon as I got out the first set of doors, I got up to my knees, pushed the other door open and kneed my way out, and I got up to my feet,” he said.
Stratton, who needed his family’s permission to enlist at the age of 17, thought he might be safe until he heard a soldier cry out that the shooter was following the wounded.
"He's coming around the corner with the gun, he's shooting and killing people," Stratton said. "I just sat there - felt helpless - felt hopeless waiting for this person to come in and finish the job.”
Staff Sgt. Shawn Manning was shot six times, with one bullet narrowly missing his heart. Manning said he had sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. Manning paused as he described the shooter.
“Domestic enemy, I mean, that’s what this was," Manning said. "He might have wore the uniform, but he wasn’t a soldier. He didn’t act like a soldier. He tried to kill soldiers. I mean, he was an enemy – plain and simple.”
When it came to Hasan, Manning said, there was a double standard. Hasan wrote emails to radical American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki – seeking advice on reconciling his Muslim faith with serving in the Army. This fact was known to the FBI.
“You could lose your security clearance in the Army for having bad credit and be kicked out of the Army. But you can't lose your security clearance for talking to a member of Al Qaeda, through e-mail. I mean, it doesn't make any sense," Manning said.
Despite calls from some members of Congress, none of the injured or murdered soldiers from the 2009 shooting has been awarded the Purple Heart.
Bill Hemmer currently serves as co-anchor of FOX News Channel's (FNC) America's Newsroom (weekdays 9-11AM/ET) and America's News HQ (weekdays 1-2PM/ET). Hemmer joined the network in 2005 and is based in New York. Click here for more information on Bill Hemmer.
Cyd Upson is a Senior Producer at Fox News in the Investigative Unit and of the acclaimed military history series “War Stories.”
Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.