FORT HOOD, Texas — An Army chaplain asked mourners Sunday to pray for the accused Fort Hood shooter, calling on them to focus less on why the tragedy happened and more on helping each other through "the valley of the shadow of darkness."
"Lord, all those around us search for motive, search for meaning, search for something, someone to blame. That is so frustrating," Col. Frank Jackson told a group of about 120 people gathered at one of the post's chapels. "Today, we pause to hear from you. So Lord, as we pray together, we focus on things we know."
Worshipers at the 1st Cavalry Memorial Chapel hugged one another and raised their hands in prayer during the service, in which Jackson asked the congregation to pray for the 13 dead and 29 wounded that Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan is accused of shooting. The chaplain also urged the crowd to pray for Hasan and his family "as they find themselves in a position that no person ever desires to be — to try and explain the unexplainable."
"Our prayer is that you will use us and this faith community to be a catalyst for healing and reconciliation," Jackson said. "Give us listening ears, open eyes and hearts, and confidence in the presence of your Holy Spirit as we journey together with all those around us through this valley of the shadow of darkness."
Meanwhile, a leading lawmaker said he plans to begin a congressional investigation to determine whether the shootings constitute a terrorist attack.
Sen. Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said on Fox News Sunday that he wants to find out whether the Army missed warning signs that Hasan was becoming extreme.
Military criminal investigators continue to refer to Hasan as the only suspect in the shootings but won't say when charges would be filed. Hasan, who was shot by civilian police to end the rampage, was in critical but stable condition at an Army hospital in San Antonio, Texas. He was breathing on his own after being taken off a ventilator Saturday, but officials won't say whether Hasan can communicate.
At least 16 victims remained hospitalized with gunshot wounds, and seven were in intensive care.
Army Chief of Staff George Casey warned Sunday against reaching conclusions about the suspected shooter's motives until investigators have fully explored the attack. "I think the speculation (on Hasan's Islamic roots) could potentially heighten backlash against some of our Muslim soldiers," he said on ABC's This Week."