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Shooter Targets Former Employer in Orlando Building

Aired November 6, 2009 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, what the hell is going on in our country? Every time you look up at the TV, there`s another mass shooting, wreaking havoc across our nation. Why does this keep happening?

First, a bloody massacre cripples the heart of Texas, killing 13 people as an Army psychiatrist allegedly goes berserk. Now the very next day, a gunman in Florida walks into a high-rise building and opens fire on innocent people. The alleged shooter, a former employee who got fired from his job two years ago.

But why does anyone resort to killing innocent people? What`s happening to our society? Have we become a blood-drenched culture that`s defined by violence? Does violence feed on itself? Are we addicted to violence?

The list`s a mile long. Twelve students gunned down at Columbine High School. Thirty-two people killed on the campus of Virginia Tech. Thirteen more shot to death at an immigration center in New York. Three women mowed down at a fitness center in Pittsburgh. The list goes on and on. But why? And what`s being done to stop it? You know, if we`re not part of the solution, we are part of the problem.

So tonight, ISSUES goes inside our blood-drenched culture, hunting for answers.

ISSUES starts now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Good evening. Did you have the same reaction I did? Did you look up at the TV, see the second mass shooting in as many days and say to yourself, "What`s happening in America?"

Tonight, here on ISSUES, we`re going to ask the controversial question, is America addicted to violence? We are talking about twin horrors. Yesterday, in Texas, today in Florida.

First, a Muslim military psychiatrist, upset about being deployed to Afghanistan, allegedly goes on a murderous rampage at Fort Hood. He`s accused of killing at least 13 people before he is shot and arrested.

Less than a day later, shots ring out inside an Orlando office building. We watch, America watches, as the pandemonium and panic erupt.


TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news into the CNN newsroom. Want to get you to the pictures right now in Orlando, Florida. We are getting reports of as many as eight people shot.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Shots reportedly fired at this downtown high-rise office building. We`re also hearing reports that there are multiple victims now, at least eight, and that the shooter is not in custody.

GAIL PASCHALL-BROWN, WESH CORRESPONDENT: Multiple, multiple fire units, multiple rescue out there working on him. We`re told by authorities that basically many of those are serious trauma patients. We cannot confirm any deaths at this time. Sergeant Barb Jones of the Orlando Police Department says she will not do that. We are told that one of them did have a heart situation.

BOB KEALING, WESH CORRESPONDENT: They`ve heard from an employee who was actually inside the center as all of this was going on, and this person said that, basically, "We have everyone in one office and we have barricaded ourselves, 20 of us, inside this office with a chest of drawers." This person said, "We`re scared. We`re safe right now, but we`re scared." They`re literally going floor by floor to clear it. The shooter still at large.

VAL DEMINGS, ORLANDO POLICE CHIEF: We are proud to say that our SWAT team has apprehended the suspect. He was located at his mother`s residence.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Way to go in that arrest. One person confirmed dead. Police caught alleged shooter Jason Rodriguez hiding in his mom`s house. Listen as a reporter asks him why he went back to the office where he had been fired more than two years earlier.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why did you do it? Why did you do it?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They left you to rot? You`re mad at your employers?

RODRIGUEZ: They left me to rot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who left you to rot?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: In both of these cases, the alleged shooters appear to be very bitter men, harboring deep resentments, men who may have been seeking revenge against perceived slights. But what allegedly convinced them that a bullet-riddled massacre was the answer to their little problems? Could the Orlando shooter have been influenced by the shooter from the day before?

And what are we going to do about it? Let`s face it: if we`re not part of the solution, then we are part of the problem.

So I want to hear from you at home. What is your theory about this trend toward violent gun rampages? Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877- 586-7297.

Straight out to my fantastic expert panel: Don Clark, former FBI special agent in charge; Wendy Murphy, criminal prosecutor and author of "And Justice for Some"; Marva Hinton, reporter for WDBO Radio in Orlando; and joining me on the phone, Ken Jacobson. He is the suspect`s former boss, in a manner of speaking, at the Orlando architectural and engineering firm, Reynolds, Smith and Hill, where the victims were gunned down.

Ken, first of all, my condolences over this horrific incident. I know this has to be tough for you and the surviving co-workers. What did Rodriguez do at your firm, why was he fired in 2007, and what`s your reaction to this comment he made, "They left me to rot?"

Sir? Speak up, sir.

KEN JACOBSON, REYNOLDS, SMITH AND HILL (via phone): Mr. Rodriguez was hired in 2006 as an -- the entry level engineer. We`re an engineering firm, and we do transportation engineering. And his performance was below the necessary standards.

And he was counseled by his supervisors for approximately 11 months, and when his performance did not improve, then we terminated our employment with him in June of 2007, two and a half years ago.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, did he seem violent, weird, cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs to you?

JACOBSON: Well, I didn`t know him, but in reviewing his -- his file, there`s no references in there whatsoever to any type of misconduct or violent nature or anything. It was strictly a performance issue.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Well, we are learning a lot about this guy, and I don`t even know if you`re aware of all this stuff. He has a violent past. We`ve just learned.

Here`s what we know so far about the suspect, Jason Rodriguez. He`s 40 years old. He has two kids. He got a divorce in 2006. A year later, he lost his job at that engineering firm, to which he allegedly returned today, apparently harboring a deep resentment over having been let go, and opening fire on innocent victims.

Earlier this year, he filed for bankruptcy. The filing lists his job as -- get this -- a Subway restaurant sandwich artist, making 900 bucks a month.

Let`s listen again to what Rodriguez said as he was being hauled into the precinct.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why did you do it? Why did you do it?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They left you to rot? You`re mad at your employers?

RODRIGUEZ: They left me to rot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who left you to rot?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, get this. We`re also learning tonight the suspect, as I said, had a violent past. "The Orlando Sentinel" now reporting in the very same month that he was fired, June 2007, Rodriguez was picked up by the Orange County Sheriff`s Office after they got a report that he was missing and a danger to self and others.

He was brought to a hospital, where his mental state was evaluated. At the hospital, he allegedly attacked a nurse`s aide, pushing her in the chest to escape. That nurse`s reaction to today`s news, Wendy Murphy, she told reporters, "Oh, my God, that`s him." She says after he was fired, he took it a little harder than most people do -- Wendy.

WENDY MURPHY, CRIMINAL PROSECUTOR: You think? You know, look, the thing that bothers me the most about this is that this appears to be a new iteration of the Twinkie defense. You know, "The economy got tough, and I didn`t get my entitlement, so I had to blow up everybody in my old office."

I don`t have sympathy for this guy. And Jane, I know you don`t like the gun angle. You don`t like guns. And there may be some mental health test, I don`t care. When you want to walk free in my society around other free, law -- you know, human beings and law-abiding human beings, you can`t respond to anger by doing anything harmful to anybody, much less shooting a bunch of them.

So what I don`t like is that there`s an attitude of entitlement in this guy and that it is reflective of an apparent epidemic that`s growing in this country. And I blame our legal system, because it takes too long to get to justice, and we give out meager punishments. Why wouldn`t anybody feel like they had a right to kill in this country? Our legal system deserves the blame.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, tonight here on ISSUES we are asking some big questions, because we want to be part of the solution. One question is does violence feed off itself? Is there a chain reaction of violence? Listen to this.


DEMINGS: You know, it`s still a lot of details that we`re sorting through right now. It`s such a tragedy to occur, especially after the shooting that occurred in Texas on yesterday. Still a lot of details we need to sort through, but we are proud to say that our SWAT team has apprehended the suspect. He was located at his mother`s residence, and he is in custody.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m hearing him.

Just one day after 13 people gunned down at Fort Hood, this shooter allegedly opens fire at his old office building.

You know, my question to don Clark is why did this chucklehead, this chock full of nuts, choose today? Two and a half years after he was fired from this company. And my question is, could the massacre at Fort Hood yesterday have given this alleged gunman the sick idea of, "Oh, I`m boiling with resentment. I`m boiling with anger. I`m having a giant pity party. I feel sorry for myself. Whoops, I know what I could do."

DON CLARK, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: You know, Jane, I think you`ve hit it right on the head. I think these things do feed off of each other, in particular for those weak-minded people who don`t know what the heck to do and then something like the thing happens over in Fort Hood, Texas, and it`s, "Oh, my God, let me go out and do this."

But you know what, Jane? I`m going to go back to my generation, you know. Guns have just been around. And I know some of my friends are going to beat me up about this, but I`ve been in law enforcement and the military. And I`m just tired of these guns. You know, you got guns on the street, and everything is solved with them, in television and everything.

And then you get these kids involved with these guns and what do they do? They do drive-bys, so they don`t even see what they have done and the damage that they`ve done. Those are the controls.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And let me tell you something. I agree with you 100 percent. From a psychological perspective, I`m not talking gun control. I`m talking psychology.

CLARK: No, neither am I.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It takes an entire complicated situation, and it boils it down to one action. It takes a revenge fantasy in your head, and it makes it real.

Stay right where you are. One person dead, seven more injured. We`re going to have more on this Orlando shooting in a moment. We are taking your calls on this. We have a reporter who can answer your questions: 1- 877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

Plus, from one shooting to another. Is our nation addicted to violence? We`re going to go inside the mind of the murder suspect in the Fort Hood massacre.

But first, terror in Orlando. A lone gunman shoots up a crowded office just as employees prepare to head out for the weekend.


SGT. BARB JONES, ORLANDO POLICE DEPARTMENT: One shooting is too many. I mean, you got a guy going into a business on a Friday where people are trying to make an honest living and, you know, does something like this. I mean, it happens. We just got it. And you know, it`s just one of those things that we got to do everything we can. And we need your help because we need to get that guy in custody.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were working, and one of my co-workers came in and said that the building was being surrendered. And there was policemen with heavy machine guns, and they were surrounding the building. And all of a sudden, a lot of cars kept coming up. We saw people being carried out of the building that were injured and bloodied. It was a little scary.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re talking about our nation`s sick culture of violence: twin mass shootings in two days. What`s the cause of this explosion of violence? My big issue tonight: gunmen, gun man, gun plus man. Gun plus man, is that a deadly equation?

Listen to this.


PHILLIPS: Police right now looking for that alleged gunman.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The alleged gunman...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just happened to encounter the gunman...

HARRIS: Since yesterday, we`ve been able to dig up a lot of information about the accused gunman.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Gunman. It`s a term ripped from the headlines. Take a look at these mass shootings. All men, all of them taking their rage out on innocent victims, in many cases mass murdering with guns.

You know, I once spoke to an expert in bullying who calls the gun the great equalizer. Kids who were bullied in the schoolyard sometimes return with a gun to more than level the playing field. And adult men who feel powerless and humiliated can turn to a gun to give them a feeling of power over others they resent.

OK. I want to go right now to Alex Katehakis. She is an addiction specialist. She`s also a sex specialist.

Let`s face it: a gun is a phallic symbol, Alex. What do you make about the fact that it`s males primarily committing these kinds of, basically, revenge fantasies come to life with a squeeze of a trigger?

ALEX KATEHAKIS, ADDICTION SPECIALIST: Well, Jane, I think there are a lot of factors. First of all, one of the things we know is that the area of the brain that`s responsible for aggression is larger in general in men. And so men`s natural tendency is towards being aggressive.

Also, men in our culture are taught to repress their feelings, not talk about it, shoulder their responsibility and handle it on their own, whereas women are taught to feel their feelings, you know, talk to other people, engage with their family and their community.

So I think in the case of this guy in Orlando, for example, it feels like, or seems like, he just imploded, you know, both on himself and on other people.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Eric in Florida, your question or thought?

CALLER: Hey, Jane, I think you guys have a great point about the whole male problem or whatever with the gun, you know, phallic problems with the gun. But I think maybe that it`s just too easy to get firearms in the U.S. And when the media plays the stuff over and over and over and over, these guys that have no life at all just sit at home and watch this and think, "Well, God, maybe I can just go out and do this, too."

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I want to go to Marva Hinton. You`re a radio reporter, WDBO, Atlanta. You`re covering this one. You`re covering many other examples of violence. We`re talking about this plague of violence, and it`s hit Orlando pretty hard. You know, a lot of the cases we cover are down in Florida.

What do you make of, when you are there first-hand covering this, as a human being, dealing with a situation this horrific in terms of your reaction to the causes?

MARVA HINTON, WDBO REPORTER: Well, I mean, it`s just shock, Jane. I`m sure that`s what a lot of people feel, even though we see this so much. When it happens in your community, you don`t want to believe it, especially after what happened yesterday in Fort Hood.

And what we have heard about this suspect, you know, usually people say, "Oh, we never expected this type of thing." But we heard from some people and his mother said he was a creepy guy, you know. They didn`t think he`d do this, but there was something a little off about him.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to talk about addiction to violence. And let me go back to Alex. You know, to me, this is my take on all this. We`re addicted to violence in America. We`re inundated, conditioned to use violence as a solution, and violence is a huge problem because it`s progressive. Addiction is progressive. It`s only going to get worse.

Have we hit bottom on violence? Do we need an intervention, a violence intervention in America as a society?

KATEHAKIS: Well, I don`t -- I don`t know that we have hit bottom on it by any means, and we probably do need an intervention in society. But I think that it really starts with the children. It starts with how we`re raising our children, how we`re treating one another in community.

We`re a very disenfranchised, very isolated group of people. And we don`t have one another to turn to. And I think that`s where the intervention starts. It starts very early on.

And I do think this issue of guns and how they`re the not controlled or regulated in any way, shape or form, are creating -- not creating the problem, but they`re aggravating the problem and allowing it to run rampant in the way that it is.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We`re going to continue this subject, addiction to violence in America. Thank you, fantastic panel.

Thirteen innocent people mowed down on a U.S. Army base. What fuels all this violence? We`re going to walk through the suspect`s final hours before the shooting. Some amazing information coming out.

Plus, an office building riddled with bullets just as employees were headed out for the weekend. The second massive shooting in just two days. What`s wrong with our blood-drenched culture?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They left you to rot? You`re mad at your employers?

RODRIGUEZ: They left me to rot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who left you to rot?




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They said, "The shooter`s coming, the shooter`s coming." People were falling out of the elevators to get out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So I`m coming out of our suite. She`s running towards me, telling me to get back in. There`s gunfire and you could smell the gunfire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a little unnerving. It was a little unnerving. We started -- you know, you think the worst and you`re calling your families, and yours families are calling you. And the phones are going crazy. Just started hoping for the best and preparing for the worst.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Terrifying moments inside an Orlando office building. A gunman opens fire on the eighth floor. One person dead, five others in stable condition. Suspect Jason Rodriguez arrested, thankfully. Police acted quickly before this nightmare could claim still more victims.


MAYOR BUDDY DYER, ORLANDO: This was a model response by the Orlando Police Department and their supporting law enforcement agencies and the Orlando Fire Department. The gunman has been apprehended, so the community is safe. That`s the important thing to know now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Phone lines lighting up. Larry, Tennessee, your question or thought, sir?

CALLER: Yes. It really bothers me. Every time we have this incident, we go to blame the gun. It`s the gun; it`s the gun. Our failure is to recognize, identify potential threats, disarm them, give them the appropriate treatment if they need it, put them in a penitentiary where they belong, if necessary, take care of that.

I`ve owned guns my whole life. I`m retired military. I`ve been around them. I hunt. I brought daughters up. They know how to use them. Why is it we want to go back, "Oh, the gun and macho men"? I`m sensitive; I`m educated.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I`ll say a couple things. One, I think you make some good points. I personally am very much against hunting. I think it`s unfair. I mean, you know, they`ve got their four legs; you`ve got the gun.

But aside from that, I don`t think guns are the only part of the problem. I think it`s a minuscule aspect of the problem, but it is a factor we have to consider.

As far as I can see, the big issue, Wendy Murphy, to me, is this addiction to violence. I`ll tell you why.

Both of these guys, in the case of this Rodriguez and in the case of the Fort Hood Army psychiatrist, harbor deep resentments. And one thing they say about addicts is they cannot afford resentment. A resentment will fester, and it will lead to a slip. Now, an alcoholic will slip by drinking. An addict to violence will slip by having a rampage like this. So it really dovetails with addictive behavior.

MURPHY: I totally agree with you. I think you coined an important phrase tonight, calling it the bitter man problem. And you know, the word "gun woman" doesn`t even sound right to me. So I think you are on to something there.

But you know, here`s where I think addiction matters most in terms of why it causes the behavior. You can be addicted to violence in terms of wanting to watch it on television or in movies. Doing it is a different level.

And here`s where I think it comes from, Jane. Porn. Porn and violence are basically one and the same today. Not 30 years ago, when porn was just sex. Today`s porn, mainstream porn, which men watch mostly, and women are victimized in mostly, but it breeds violence. Because what they`re doing is getting sexually excited from brutal acts of vicious violence.

I mean, I`m talking about knives and objects used in body parts that are supposed to be for pleasure. So...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And for love. And for love.

MURPHY: I think you`re absolutely right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Wendy, I`ll add something else to that.

MURPHY: Porn -- porn is such an addiction.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And it`s all about violence. It`s all about hate instead of love, and it`s all about domination. And these are men who feel humiliated, and they`re trying to feel powerful.

And we`re going to continue to cover it when we come right back. A double dose of terror.



RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: We`re getting reports from one of our own affiliates there, KSHB, this is in Fort Hood, Texas that there has just been a shooting; quite a serious shooting, as a matter of fact. We have seven people dead, 12 people wounded.

CHUCK ROBERTS, HLN ANCHOR: Breaking news out of Killeen, Texas, Fort Hood, there are several reports of multiple deaths and multiple injuries in a shooting spree, a mass shooting at Fort Hood, according to a base spokesman.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: We do have breaking news coming to us out of Texas in the United States; a shooting at a U.S. Army base there. Now, we are being told there are multiple deaths and injuries.


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN ANCHOR: What must the rest of the world think about America`s addiction to violence?

Yesterday afternoon: the first of two deadly shooting rampages in two consecutive days. The number of dead at Fort Hood: 13 including 21- year-old Michael Pearson who joined the army just over a year ago.

His devastated brother could barely contain himself.

KRISTOPHER CRAIG, BROTHER OF SOLDIER KILLED: We didn`t know he was on his way home. There`s no way out of, what, 43 people got injured, there`s no way, he`s already done with the readiness. He wasn`t in that building.

He wasn`t -- I told my mom that there`s no way he could have been there and there`s no way somebody got on base and shot people unless it was one of our own. And then not a half hour after I said that, it was on the news that it was one of our own soldiers.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That poor guy. So many others like him.

One of our own indeed; according to authorities, the man in the cross-hairs of military investigators is 39-year-old Army psychiatrist Major Nadal Malik Hasan. Hasan, who is not dead but in a coma right now, is also accused of wounding 30 other people.

Tonight, a picture of the alleged troubled trigger man has begun to emerge. The owner of a 7-11 at Fort Hood tells CNN the man seen on surveillance video dressed in traditional Arab garb is Major Hasan. He said Hasan came in most mornings to buy coffee and hash browns, including yesterday.

Now, Hasan was also reportedly giving away all his furniture and handing out copies of the Koran to neighbors in the hours before the rampage. One neighbor told the Associated Press that he offered her $60 to clean his apartment after he was quote, "deployed on Friday".

He was about to be deployed to a war zone according to his mother, Afghanistan. His cousin reportedly said deployment was the suspect`s quote, "worst nightmare".

"We should not be in the war in the first place," is how a former co-worker said Hasan felt about the fact that the U.S. had troops in the region according to "The New York Post."

We will dissect the significance of all these details as we try to square them with tonight`s big issue: America`s deadly addiction to violence.

I want to know what you think. Give me a call, 1-877-586-7297.

Back to my expert panel: and joining me, Don Clark, former special agent in charge of the Houston FBI; Dr. Daniel Amen, former Army psychiatrist, U.S. Army major retired and author of "Change Your Brain, Change Your Life;" Mike Brown, retired lieutenant colonel with the U.S. Army and currently director of Army War Fighter Integration at BAE systems, a global defense company; and we also have Drew Peck (ph), retired Air Force colonel, who was on lockdown for seven hours yesterday at Fort Hood - - he joins me by phone.

But first, Sean Callebs, CNN reporter who`s on the ground in Fort Hood. Sean what is the very latest in the investigation into this suspect?

SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think there has been some significant activity over this afternoon. First, I think authorities are trying to put together a better picture of exactly what Major Hasan was doing in the hours leading up to the shooting.

We now know more about the weapons that were used in this shooting. One was called an FN 5.7 hand gun, it`s extremely lethal. It fires bullets that are referred to as cop killers. It is the favorite of the cartels, a weapon they like to use. Also a .357 revolver; don`t know if it had a quick load but if you think about the number of people who were killed and injured, certainly he came prepared to do a lot of damage.

Also, if you back up to about 2:37 in the morning, long before the shooting, a neighbor who shares a common wall with Hasan, his apartment complex, heard a great deal of noise; a lot of thumping and banging. Turned out that is when he was giving the furniture to his neighbor, who he said look, "I`m done, I`m deploying, I`m not coming back."

So immediately the wheels start turning here. Look, is this somebody who planned this long ago? Did he have some kind of death wish? Did he know he was going out? Then he asked a neighbor to turn on his wireless system so Hasan could use his computer, first at 2:37 in the morning, then again at 5:00 in the morning.

And he left a message for that neighbor named Willie Bell, saying thank you for being such a good friend. He also used Bell`s laptop on occasion.

Well, authorities quizzed Bell for four hours today. They also took Bell`s computer and Bell has told CNN that the authorities wanted to know more then about the wireless system. What about, we simply don`t know.

And then the pictures that we`ve seen where Hasan is walking into a 7-11 to get some coffee, to get some hash browns as well, and then the shooting here.

We did talk to a number of first responders here today, Jane, who said by the time they reached Hasan, he was already unconscious. So that jives with what authorities told us at a Newser several hours ago that he is unconscious. We don`t know if he`s in a sedated medical state or if he is in a full-on coma.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right Sean. Excellent re-cap there. Where do we draw the line between a fair discussion about this suspect and one in which he is being profiled?

Last night Larry King confronted a former JAG officer who raised the issue of Hasan`s ethnicity.


LARRY KING, CNN HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": By mentioning his Islamic last name, are you doing speculating of your own?

TOM KENNIFF, FORMER COMMISSIONED JAG OFFICER: I am speculating. That`s true. We have very limited information right now but we`re all speculating. What I`m saying is my speculation seems to fit a lot more in with the reality of this case.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. No, it doesn`t.

KENNIFF: Than anyone else`s.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just don`t think you can say that. I think that`s a terrible innuendo.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. So that`s controversial but now based on aggressive reporting in the wake of this shooting, we know a lot more about Hasan, that he`s a devout Muslim. "New York Post" says he`s of Palestinian descent but he was born in Virginia. He attended Virginia Tech. He`s an 8-year veteran who was transferred Fort Hood after getting a poor review at Walter Reed Army Hospital.

According to the training director, he had quote, "difficulties related to interacting with patients that required counseling and extra supervision". His cousin said he`s wanted out of the military since the 9/11 attacks and he was taunted after 9/11. Recently his car was keyed and a religious bumper sticker was torn off by a fellow soldier.

He also had applied to a matrimonial seminar but had problems finding a love match according to "The New York Post".

So let me go to Dr. Daniel Amen, former Army psychiatrist. He`s conflicted about being deployed, fearing he might have to wage war against his fellow Muslims. He`s lonely; he can`t get a girlfriend, apparently. What do you make of it?

DR. DANIEL AMEN, U.S. ARMY, RETIRED: What we often see in these kinds of events is they`re stacked stresses. It`s not one thing that causes someone to snap. It`s a series of events.

And plus, you know, a lot of psychiatrists in the military develop what I call compassion fatigue. They`re listening to horrific events day after day, over and over again. So he has a pretty good idea or he`s very fearful of what awaits him as he`s going to be deployed.

Take that with the loneliness, with feeling picked on, with being scared that he`s going to have to shoot people that he thinks are, you know, not his enemy but his brother. And you have the prescription for disaster.

And what I do at our clinic, we do brain imaging work. We have seen because we have scanned hundreds of violent criminals, including a number of mass murderers, and there`s something off in their brains. You take all of those factors and put them together and it`s a perfect storm.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me say this. Major Hasan`s second in line supervisor was choosing her words very carefully when commenting on this horrific massacre. Let`s listen to her.


COL. KIMBERLY KESLING, DARNELL HOSPITAL: This is a tragedy. I mean, there`s no two ways about it. You would like to think that things like this don`t happen in your backyard, so to speak.

However, people sometimes have things going on with them that you don`t know about and that they don`t share with you and they make bad choices. If he indeed did this, this is a bad choice.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lieutenant Colonel Mike Brown, this guy was a psychiatrist who counseled soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who were suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome. He was inundated with horror stories in the war zone. He was mortified about being deployed because he`s a Muslim. He reportedly had concern about waging war against his fellow Muslims. He apparently had been trying to get out of the Army since the 9/11 attacks.

My question to you -- certainly this is not a justification; we`re trying to understand the sickness -- if somebody has a religious objection to going to war, should they just be allowed out?

LT. COL. MIKE BROWN, U.S. ARMY, RETIRED: Well, Jane, first I want to make sure that they know the soldiers and families of Fort Hood, they`re in our thoughts and prayers. I`m a soldier and I got to tell you, I think it`s something even more basic.

He was deficient in his values. I`m very troubled by this incident. I went through and looked at the Army values, core values -- there`s seven of them -- which talk about loyalty and duty and honor and selfless service. And when you look at those values, that`s something that as Army...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But my question is he wanted out and if somebody says, "I don`t want to go there because it`s religiously, this is against my religion, I`m a Muslim, I don`t want to have to fight with Muslims," should we just let them out?

I mean, would that have been a smarter solution given what happened?

BROWN: I think his supervisor should have been listening and I`d be surprised if nobody knew that. But then again, I go back to the values of responsibility and honor; and he took money, funds, to go through medical school and so he had a responsibility to pay that back.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You make a very good point. That`s why we asked the question. Everyone, stay right where you are. We`re all over these two mass shootings and we`re focusing on the bigger issue.

What`s causing all this violence? We`re also taking your calls. We got Thomas, stand by, South Carolina. 1-877-JVM-SAYS, that`s 1-877-586- 7297. Taking your calls.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why did you do it? Why did you do it?




JOHN MCHUGH, SECRETARY OF THE ARMY: We want to take every step necessary to ensure that these kinds of instances don`t repeat themselves and obviously, it risks sounding ridiculous to say it but take it seriously so it never happens again.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Violence, horrible violence at Fort Hood followed by horrible violence in Orlando. Two mass shootings in two days, leaving us to ask the question tonight here on ISSUES: is America addicted to violence.

We`re going to get to all of our amazing guests and also, Thomas in South Carolina, your question or thought?

THOMAS, SOUTH CAROLINA (via telephone): Hello?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hey, Thomas, how you doing?

THOMAS: I`m doing great this evening.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What`s your question, sir?

THOMAS: My question is, the military had already been told by this major that he wanted out or he was -- made the statement he was a Muslim first and they did no investigation on this man. They did not -- his evals came back low. Once again, no one did anything about it. This man was a terrorist right in our own backyard; he showed exactly who he was.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Sean Callebs, I think our caller raises an excellent point. If he was fomenting about not wanting to go to Iraq and he is a Muslim and he was wearing that outfit that signifies how serious he is about his religious beliefs and fomenting about this, shouldn`t he have been investigated by the U.S. Military?

CALLEBS: I hate to differ with the caller but I`m pretty sure that the military investigated this. This is somebody who had gone on at some length about the fact he did not want to be deployed overseas.

I think one of your panelists earlier hit the nail on the head. Look, the government spent a great deal of money putting this guy through med school. He has a commitment.

He has a requirement just like someone that goes through the military academies. They have a five-year minimum commitment once they graduate. He had to put in his time, he had to pay the government back.

If he didn`t want to go overseas, he has to show good cause. He can`t wait until the last minute as he`s supposed to come to the processing center and say, "I don`t want to go now, it`s not going to work that way." I guarantee there was a lot of investigation going on.

Secondly here today the Army secretary as well as other Army officials were saying they were not ruling out the fact that this was a terrorist attack. So in that part, I think that the caller could be very close to right. That`s something they are certainly investigating. The problem is they just aren`t able to talk to the suspect at this hour.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We have with us tonight, we`re very delighted to have with us Drew Peck, who is a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, who was there at Fort Hood yesterday, spent seven hours on lockdown.

Drew you have been listening to all this very patiently. What do you make of it? You think he should have been allowed to leave? Do you think that the military has handled this properly?

LT. COL. DREW PECK, AIR FORCE, RETIRED: That`s hard to say. But I think -- I think he should deserve to serve his time because of what he did. I think he should have -- he needed to pay his time back for all the money he took for going to school and all the education that he got. He needed to serve his time in the military.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This has got to be completely just shocking and to a certain degree, demoralizing to the brave men and women who were there thinking they were in a safe place, in a safe city.

And the irony, drew, that many of these people had just come back from Iraq or Afghanistan or were headed to Iraq and Afghanistan. They thought they were in a safe place and then boom, they`re sort of ambushed by this crazed person who turns out to be one of their own. Is this, in your opinion, Drew, terrorism?

PECK: To me, it`s terrorism. I mean, you know, if somebody from the outside looked to see what happened, whether he`s in the military or not, he did a terrorist act. I don`t care what religion he`s in. What he did was pure terrorism.

Alex Katahakis (ph), you`re the addiction specialist. You`re also a sex specialist. What struck me was that he was trying to date and having a hard time. Because they say we never dream about politics so while politics may have been his alleged superficial reason for whatever act he allegedly committed, the deeper reason might have had something more to do with loneliness, feeling less than, feeling apart from.

ALEX KATAHAKIS, ADDICTION SPECIALIST: Yes. I mean, this man was highly compartmentalized and perhaps even had some sort of psychotic break; so he was lonely -- again, he was isolated. He was in a bind because he had this obligation to pay back his loans and also, he didn`t want to go to this country and kill other Muslims.

This is the, you know, what we`re assuming and so there wasn`t a place for him again and especially what`s shocking is that he was a psychiatrist. That he didn`t have the resources to go to somebody and talk about the bind he was in, to talk about the struggles that he had.

Instead, all of that rage was turned, you know, inside and he exploded. And it`s really tragic that we don`t have more measures for people like this to get the mental health care that they need, to have an outlet to talk about the struggles that they`re having. And you know, all of us suffer in the end because of it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know Alex, I have to say that normally I`d agree with that but he`s a psychiatrist, as you said.

Dr. Amen, you`re a former Army psychiatrist. How is it possible? It`s like they always say what is it, the cobbler`s kids have no shoes. I forget that old saying. He`s a psychiatrist; shouldn`t he have the wherewithal to realize I`m in trouble here?

AMON: One would think that, but the question you have to ask yourself is where does he go to get help? Because if he goes to psychiatrists, they are his colleagues; if he goes to his boss who may be a psychiatrist as well, he`s also the person that is rating him.

Now, that`s not an excuse. I mean, what he did, I would agree, it`s a terrorist act from a deranged mind that was filled, exploded, if you will, with remarkable stress. But, you know, I was thinking today, it`s like, "Ok, I was an Army psychiatrist. Where would I go for help?"

And, you know, it`s a really hard question for him. He had already gotten bad evaluations and so, if he goes and says I have these really horrible thoughts in my head, in his mind, he probably felt like he had no options.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Well, it`s just really upsetting and as I think about it, I think that we are talking about what we need to talk about to be part of the solution. So we`re not just part of the pornography of violence.

Everyone stay where you are. More on our country`s addiction to violence, next.



LT. GEN. BOB CONE, COMMANDER, FORT HOOD: Officer Dunley (SIC) is a trained active first responder and just happened, very fortunately to be very close to the incident scene. Her and her partner responded very quickly.

They just happened to encounter the gunman and she, in an exchange of gunfire, she was wounded, but wounded the shooter four times. Again, a really pretty amazing and aggressive performance by this police officer.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Officer Kimberly Munley, tonight`s hero, responded to the Fort Hood scene three minutes. She is 34, married to a staff sergeant who had done two tours in Iraq. She has a 3-year-old daughter. A Facebook page called "Kimberly Munley, a real American hero" has been set up in her honor. It already has 1,400 members.

Sean Callebs, this is the comforting story to come out of this nightmare, is it not?

CALLEBS: Yes. She`s Texas tough, there`s no question about that. I think everybody is very impressed with her. She`s a civilian here on base. But she has the admiration and respect and the undying love and support from virtually everybody on this base.

What we heard, she just went in and confronted him. Shot him four times. And she was wounded herself. Her family is now rushing to be by her side from North Carolina. We don`t know if they`re here yet.

Army brass was here today, they have not had a chance to speak with her. But without question, she is -- she is the real hero in all this. Without her, who knows what could have happened?

And that`s not to minimize what everybody else did of both taking care of the wounded as well as the other first responders who rushed to the scene. But without this civilian police officer, boy, you really shudder to think what could have happened.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, we have been talking about America`s addiction to violence. That is my theory. As a recovering alcoholic, I know that there`re certain commonalities to addictive behavior. And one is that it`s a cycle. You binge, then you feel remorse and then you do it again.

Dr. Daniel Amen, do you see a cycle of addictive behavior when it comes to America`s relationship with violence? We cover all these stories, we kind of binge on all the details. And we experience the remorse, there is the funerals, there is the upset. And then we kind of forget about it and the next one comes along even worse than the one before.

Isn`t that addictive behavior?

AMON: No question. And I think you just have to look at football. And what drives me crazy, is ultimate fighting. Why is that legal? That`s horrible. It`s very much like dog fighting, I think. And it`s crazy and it feeds upon itself.

There`s a wonderful book called "Thrilled to Death" written by a friend of mine. And it`s all about how we need more and more and more excitement or stimulation in order to pay attention at all.

And I think we have to stop that. And it starts by being very careful with what you allow your children to watch, what games you allow them to play. I have a 9-year-old patient. His dad was letting him play Grand Theft Auto. And I`m like, oh my goodness. What is the matter with us that we`re not more thoughtful in developing healthy people and healthy brains?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, if we are a nation addicted to violence, as I believe we are, we have to realize that all addiction is progressive and it only gets worse. And so let us hope that somehow in the midst of this horror, we use it as an opportunity to take a look at this issue and come up with a solution.

You are watching ISSUES on HLN.