Reuters reports that the families and victims of the mass shooting at Fort Hood military base in central Texas in November 2009 have filed a wrongful death suit against the accused gunman, the U.S. government, and the estate of an alleged al Qaeda leader. The 148 plaintiffs claim the shooting was a terrorist attack, and if ruled to be so, it would clear the way for them to receive benefits.
An Army psychiatrist, Major Nidal Hasan, faces charges of premeditated murder and attempted premeditated murder for the attack on soldiers at Fort Hood as they prepared to deploy to Iraq. It has been three years since the attack, and survivors have expressed frustration over the delay in bringing Hasan to trial. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces postponed Hasan’s court martial indefinitely pending further review.
The suit alleges that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and other officials disregarded the safety of civilians and soldiers at Fort Hood, and that they allowed Hasan to be in a position to open fire, even though they knew he was a radical extremist.
Lead counsel in the case, Neal Shur, said, ”The government seems to have gone out of its way to give the stiff arm to these victims.” Sean Manning, the lead plaintiff who was an Army Staff Sergeant three years ago, was shot six times. ”The Army has refused to acknowledge this was a terrorist attack, and I have exhausted all other actions.,” he said.
The report continues, ”The lawsuit includes allegations of civil conspiracy, gross negligence, assault and battery, due process violations and intentional misrepresentations.
Shur said one reason the suit was filed was that federal authorities had ‘ignored’ $750million in administrative claims he sought in 2011.”