By Eli Saslow, Philip Rucker, William Wan And Mary Pat Flaherty
Dec 31, 2009
Nidal Hasan was causing a ruckus in his one-bedroom apartment during the early hours of Nov. 5, banging against the thin walls long after midnight, packing boxes and shredding papers until he woke up the tenants next door.
Maybe that was a clue.
He picked up the phone at 2:37 a.m. and dialed a neighbor. Nobody answered. Hasan called again three hours later, this time leaving a message. "Nice knowing you, friend," he said. "I'm moving on from here."
Maybe that was a clue, too.
He left Apartment 9 early that morning and stopped next door to see a woman named Patricia Villa, whom he had known for less than a month. He gave her a bag of frozen vegetables, some broccoli, a clothing steamer and an air mattress, explaining that he was about to be deployed to a war zone. Then Hasan visited another neighbor, a devout Christian, who looked at him quizzically when he handed her a copy of the Koran and recommended passages for her to read. "In my religion," Hasan told her, "we'll do anything to be closer to God."
Just before the break of dawn in Killeen, Tex., Hasan drove away from the Casa Del Norte apartment complex and stopped for his customary breakfast at a nearby 7-Eleven. The store's owner, wary of him, had spent the past month pretending to be absent whenever Hasan entered. This time, Hasan approached the counter with coffee and hash browns at 6:22 a.m., wearing an Arab robe and a white kufi cap. Before fiddling in his pockets for change, buying his breakfast and driving away to work at Fort Hood, he smiled at another customer and issued what sounded like a warning.