Man who allegedly shot and killed two Dallas hospital employees was in the building to watch his child’s birth, authorities say
The man who allegedly shot and killed two employees in the maternity ward of a Dallas hospital was in the building to attend the birth of his child, authorities said.
Nestor Hernandez, 30, was arrested on Saturday and is facing capital murder charges after authorities say he shot and killed two employees at the Methodist Dallas Medical Center, the Dallas Police Department said.
Police responded to the hospital at about 11 a.m. after receiving reports of an active shooting, the Methodist Health System said in a statement.
A Methodist Health System Police officer confronted and shot the suspect, the hospital system said. Hernandez was detained, stabilized and taken to another hospital for treatment, the statement added.
Hernandez was on parole for aggravated robbery and was wearing an active ankle monitor, Dallas police said. He was given permission to be at the hospital while his significant other gave birth, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
The shooting took place in the “mother/baby” unit of the hospital, the health system said.
“The Methodist Health System Family is heartbroken at the loss of two of our beloved team members,” said a statement from the medical system’s executive leadership. “Our entire organization is grieving this unimaginable tragedy.”
Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia on Monday identified the victims as Jacqueline Pokuaa, 45, and Katie Flowers, 63.
Suspect had been ‘acting strangely,’ warrant states
Hernandez had been “acting strangely” prior to the shooting and accusing his girlfriend of infidelity, according to an arrest warrant obtained by CNN affiliate WFAA.
After accusing his girlfriend of cheating, Hernandez began searching the closet and bathroom for somebody else who may have been in the room, the warrant states. The suspect produced a weapon from his pants and struck his girlfriend multiple times in the head, according to the warrant.
Hernandez then sat on a couch and allegedly told his girlfriend that “we are both going to die today” and “whoever comes in this room is going to die with us,” the warrant states. Moments later, a hospital employee entered the room to provide services to the suspect’s girlfriend and the suspect stood up and fatally shot the employee. Garcia identified the employee as Pokuaa.
Another hospital employee and a Methodist Hospital System Police officer were in a hallway and heard the gunshot. The staff member looked inside the room and saw the first victim on the floor, according to the warrant. After entering the room, the second employee, identified by Garcia as Flowers, was also allegedly shot and killed by Hernandez.
The officer then took cover and shot Hernandez in the right leg, according to the warrant.
The patient whom Hernandez assaulted before shooting the employees has been treated for their injuries, Garcia said.
“There was a newborn child at the room at the time but was not injured,” he added.
‘Abhorrent failure’ of justice system, chief says
The medical system leadership said in a separate statement that safety on Methodist Health campuses is “of paramount concern and is evaluated on an ongoing basis and anytime an issue occurs.”
In response to the attack, police staffing will be increased on the campus “out of an abundance of caution,” the statement said. The hospital had recently installed new camera systems, strengthened physical security measures and held active-shooting training for employees.
Garcia in a Twitter post called the attack “a tragedy, and an abhorrent failure of our criminal justice system.”
“This is unacceptable,” said Dr. Serena Bumpus, CEO of the Texas Nurses Association. “No person should fear for their life for merely going to work, especially a nurse or health care worker whose passion is to help others heal. We hope our legislators understand that we need to protect our health care workers.”
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