By Amanda Kim Stairrett
Killeen Daily Herald
FORT HOOD - Spc. Jonathan Sims sat down Nov. 5 in Station 13 of the Soldier Readiness Processing Center's medical building. On one side of him was his buddy and fellow 20th Engineer Battalion soldier, Spc. Mick Engenhl. On the other was a female soldier who told him she got pregnant in Iraq and was at the center to complete the return process.
Not long after, Sims heard a man say, "Allahu Akbar," before firing shots.
Sims was one of 10 soldiers who testified Monday in the Article 32 hearing for Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who is accused of killing 13 and injuring 32 in the Nov. 5 shooting at Fort Hood.
Monday was the fifth day of testimony in the hearing, which will determine whether there is enough evidence for the case to proceed to a court-martial.
Sims was one of three 20th Engineers to testify from Afghanistan via video teleconference. When gunfire began, Sims, a private first class at the time, hit the floor and crawled away. He said he felt pressure in his chest before realizing Engenhl was shot in the neck. He applied pressure to his friend's wound and felt two "pressures" on his back.
Sims didn't let go of Engenhl and pulled an object - he thought it was a table - over them for protection. Sims testified that he felt pressure on top of the folded table like someone was standing on it. When questioned by Lt. Col. Steve Henricks, a prosecutor in the case, Sims said he believed the person standing on the table to be the shooter. When asked why, Sims said no one else would be dumb enough to expose himself that long when shots were flying through the air.
It was while under the table, Sims said that he saw the female soldier he'd talked to earlier curled in a fetal position nearby. She was screaming, "My baby, my baby," Sims testified.
He felt the pressure lift off the table and heard someone say, "He's gone." Sims threw off the table and got a look at his surroundings.
He saw the female soldier lying on the floor, face down. He continued to hold pressure on Engenhl's neck as nurses started performing first aid on the woman. When they turned her over, Sims said her eyes were rolled back in her head.
Though a handful of soldiers have given similar testimony in the last week regarding a female soldier, none have named her.
Pvt. Francheska Velez, of the 1st Cavalry Division, was among the 13 victims. She was pregnant at the time of her death.
Sims was treated for a gunshot wound to the chest and two to the back.
Others to testify Monday, including their assigned units Nov. 5, were:
Pfc. Justin Johnson and Pfc. Joseph Foster, 20th Engineer Battalion, video teleconference from Afghanistan.
Sgt. Christopher Burgess, 16th Signal Company, video teleconference from Iraq.
Maj. Randy Royer, 135th Expeditionary Support Command, a National Guard unit based in Birmingham, Ala.
Staff Sgt. Thuan Nguyen and Spc. Dayna Ferguson, 1908th Medical Detachment.
Sgt. 1st Class Miguel Valdivia and Capt. Dorothy Carskadon, 467th Medical Detachment.
Staff Sgt. Eric Jackson, III Corps.