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Obama Praises Those Who Ended Fort Hood Rampage


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U.S. President Barack Obama is praising the heroism of the people who ended Thursday's shooting spree at an Army post in Texas. The president is promising a thorough investigation of the violence, which left 13 people dead and 30 others wounded.

President Obama says the violence at Fort Hood would have been heartbreaking no matter where it occurred, but it was more so because it took place on an Army post. "But it is all the more heartbreaking and all the more despicable because of the place where it occurred and the patriots who were its victims," he said.

Authorities say Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan fired at soldiers and civilians on the base before he was shot by a civilian police officer.

In his weekly Internet and radio address, Mr. Obama says those who responded to the rampage represent the best of America. "We saw soldiers and civilians alike rushing to aid fallen comrades; tearing off bullet-riddled clothes to treat the injured; using blouses as tourniquets; taking down the shooter even as they bore wounds themselves," he said.

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The alleged gunman, Hasan, is a 39-year-old psychiatrist who specializes in trauma counseling. Reports say he was about to be sent to Afghanistan. Other reports say he complained about being teased by fellow soldiers about his Muslim faith.

The president, hoping to calm potential ethnic tension, reminds the public about the diversity of those who defend the U.S. "They are Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus and nonbelievers. They are descendants of immigrants and immigrants themselves. They reflect the diversity that makes this America. But what they share is a patriotism like no other," he said.

Army leaders have been asked to review force protection procedures, and Mr. Obama says his administration will investigate the incident as thoroughly as possible. "On Friday, I met with FBI Director (Robert) Mueller, Defense Secretary (Robert) Gates and representatives of the relevant agencies to discuss their ongoing investigation into what led to this terrible crime. And I will continue to be in close contact with them as new information comes in," he said.

The president and Mrs. Obama will travel to Fort Hood on Tuesday to attend a memorial service. The president is to leave Wednesday for a 10-day trip to Asia.

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