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November 6th, 2009
10:48 AM ET

Fort Hood suspect seemed "cool, calm, religious"

Octavia Nasr, Tracy Sabo and Kevin Bohn
CNN

A picture began to emerge Thursday of the suspect in the Fort Hood shootings as a mental health professional who worked to help others in high-stress situations.

The gunman was identified as Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, 39, a law enforcement source told CNN. Hasan's office at the base's Darnall Army Medical Center is about a mile from the shootings, where 13 people were killed and 30 were wounded.

Hasan had been telling his family since 2001 that he wanted to get out of the military, said a spokeswoman for his cousin, Nader Hasan. Hasan told his family he had been taunted after the September 11 attacks, the spokeswoman said.

"He was mortified by the idea of having to deploy," his cousin told the New York Times. "He had people telling him on a daily basis the horrors they saw over there."

An owner of a 7-Eleven at Fort Hood said Hasan - whom he knows as "Major Nidal" - came in for coffee and hash browns most mornings, including the morning of the shootings. Surveillance video from the store obtained by CNN shows a man who according to the store owner is Hasan at the cashier's counter at about 6:20 a.m. Thursday, about seven hours before the mass shooting. He was carrying a beverage and dressed in traditional Arab garb. Another surveillance video from Tuesday showed the man in scrubs.

"He looked normal," the owner said. "Came in had his hash browns and coffee as you see in the surveillance video."

The owner said he was too busy to chat with Hasan on Thursday, but through brief talks learned the officer's background was Jordanian, though he didn't speak Arabic well. He said Hasan didn't wear a wedding ring and jokingly asked several times whether the owner knew a bride for him.

Hasan would also ask the owner whether he planned to attend Friday prayers. The owner would say he was too busy.

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