CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WECT) - Kimberly Munley, who was wounded helping to stop the gunman at Fort Hood, called the death sentence for Major Nidal Hasan "another day of closure" for the victims of the 2009 attack.
"It is yet another day of closure for the victims of the Fort Hood 'terror attack' and the Fort Hood community," Munley said in a statement. "We respect the panel members' decisions and hold them with utmost respect for insuring justice was served in this trial."
The panel that convicted Hasan on 13 counts of murder last week returned with its unanimous verdict Wednesday afternoon. Before an execution date can be set, there are automatic appeals to be heard in the case.
Munley, a native of Carolina Beach, was a civilian police officer at Fort Hood when the attack happened, and was shot several times while helping to stop the gunman. She is continuing her work of trying to have the incident classified as a "terror attack", and not a "workplace shooting". The difference in classification would mean that survivors and victims' families would be eligible for additional benefits.
"It comes with great relief to know that we can finally move forward with getting the reclassification back on the forefront," Munley said in the statement. "The battle has not yet been completely won for the victims and we still have a big fight ahead. I ask that you all continue to support them and stand with us in our mission to right this wrong."
Munley testified in Hasan's trial, and spoke afterwards about the experience. "I felt stronger in there than I've felt in years, and seeing him in such a feeble condition made me feel powerful and somewhat satisfied, because I know he is suffering greatly physically," she said.
Hasan didn't ask Munley any questions during her testimony. He only responded to the questions the judge asked him.
Munley said she forced the man accused of shooting her to make eye contact with her.
"He had to look in the general vicinity so it was something I made a point to do, to stare at him and force him to make eye contact with me," she said. "It seemed to give me some satisfaction because he's changed quite a bit in the last few years. He's very feeble, very skinny-looking, and just doesn't look good altogether physically. So it was kind of an empowering moment to be able to look at him dead in the eyes."
In a release from the Fort Hood Public Affairs Office, Munley's weapon used in the gunfight with Hasan was entered into evidence.
The release also states that dash cam video from Munley's police car was shown in court. In it, you can apparently see dust clouds from rounds impacting the nearby parking lot between parked cars. The release describes the courtroom as silent as Munley described the moment her weapon, and the shooter's weapon, jammed near the same time.
A reporter from the Associated Press was also in the courtroom. The AP reported Munley told jurors she saw Hasan firing when she arrived at a medical building at the Texas military base. She says he was running toward her, rapidly firing his gun.
Munley pointed to Hasan when asked Friday to identify the gunman who shot her in the hand and leg.
She told the courtroom the shooter kicked her weapon out of her hand while she was on the ground, then she heard another officer fire and saw Hasan fall down. Munley said at one point while firing toward the gunman she saw a red laser flash across her eyes. She also said that Hasan's gun did not fire when he was standing over her.
Munley said the experience of testifying was another step in her recovery. "This is something that has had me anxious for the past couple of years," she said. "But, walking in there and being able to take control and gain power has given me good closure and the good sense I had the day of the shooting. It's been therapeutic for me, definitely."
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