Armed man who was identified as a doctor barged into a a children’s medical center indowntown Austin, Texas, on Tuesday afternoon and held those inside at gunpoint
Police said a doctor with a cancer diagnosis, shot dead Dr Lindley Dodson, a pediatrician before killing himself
The hostage situation sparked a six-hour standoff with Austin PD SWAT before ending tragically
The gunman, identified as Dr. Bharat Narumanchi, had applied for a volunteer job at the centerbefore he held staff hostage on Tuesday night
At least five people were taken hostage, three were released shortly after
Negotiators were heard begging the suspect to answer the phone, shouting: ‘I am letting you know, doctor, there is a way to resolve this’
After failing to convince the gunman to surrender, SWAT team sent a robot to locate the gunman before breaching the office
Cops found two people dead, but did not reveal whether the hostage taker was among the deceased
Two people have died following a six-hour hostage situation at a children’s doctor’s office in downtown Austin on Tuesday.
Police said the gunman who was identified as a doctor with a cancer diagnosis, shot dead Dr Lindley Dodson, a 43-year-old pedeatrician and a mother-of-three, before killing himself after ‘storming the doctor’s office with a gun’ at the Children’s Medical Center in Austin after applying for a job. The hostage situation sparked a six-hour standoff with Austin PD SWAT before ending tragically.
The suspect, identified as Dr. Bharat Narumanchi, had applied for a volunteer job at the center in downtown Austin before he held staff hostage on Tuesday night.
Interviews with the hostages at the scene helped cops to identify the suspect as Dr. Bharat Narumanchi, who was terminally ill with cancer. Narumanchi, was also pediatrician and had been to the Children’s Medical Group office a week before the attack and applied for a volunteer position.
Hostages reported to officers that he was armed with a pistol and what appeared to be a shotgun and had two duffel bags.
Austin Police SWAT officers made their entry and located both Dr. Dodson and Dr. Narumanchi dead inside the building from apparent gunshot wounds.
Other than the job-related visit to the center there did not appear to be any relation or other contact between Dr. Dodson and Dr. Narumanchi, police said
The bodies were found inside Children’s Medical Group late Tuesday, hours after a suspect reportedly entered the facility with a gun and took at least five people captive. He released three people shortly after.
Hostage negotiators were heard pleading with him over a bullhorn not to harm anyone, telling him that he was a good person who had devoted his life to helping people.
At one point in the negotiations, police said he was hurt and needed medication.
It’s unclear whether the hostages were patients or medical staff or the gunman’s intention. Negotiators were heard begging the suspect: ‘You don’t deserve to go through this, for all you have done for others, that is why I want to help you work through this. You have saved a lot of lives…
‘I am letting you know, doctor, there is a way to resolve this. I need your help to fix the situation.’
The negotiator also told him that his sister was worried about him.
The incident took place at Children’s Medical Group in downtown Austin.
Officers had been called to the scene around 4.30pm on Tuesday local time after receiving a call of a ‘disturbance at a building,’ according to KVUE.
Initial reports had said that the hostage taker had entered the medical center and taken a number of people captive, but that they were able to escape.
The suspect is believed to be a doctor based on police officers’ negotiations heard at the scene however, witnesses reportedly said the doctor was not employed at the facility.
Austin police eventually sent in a robot, which located a victim before a SWAT team decided to go inside.
The SWAT team found two people dead inside, one who ‘was originally inside the building and one that was not,’ police said. They did not confirm whether the suspected gunman was one of the deceased.
A witness who works at the neighboring dental practice told the local broadcaster how she and her colleagues had locked the windows and doors.
‘A whole group of people from next door had gotten free. I guess they escaped out the back door is what they said,’ the woman said.
She said that they unlocked the doors so that the staff from the pediatric center could take refuge.
Witnesses said the everyone inside the office had been taken hostage but three people were immediately released by the suspect.
Another witness had claimed the suspect did not work in the office.
It’s unclear what led to the deaths or who was inside the building, though a negotiator speaking into a loudspeaker said, ‘ … I want to help you work through this. You have saved a lot of lives.’
‘I cannot guarantee your safety unless you comply. I am letting you know, doctor, there is a way to resolve this. I need your help to fix the situation. That starts with you answering the phone,’ the negotiator said, KVUE-TV reporter Tony Plohetski tweeted.
Authorities were heard telling the suspect: ‘Everything that is happening tonight doesn’t take anything away from everything that you have accomplished as a doctor.’
In an update shared at 9.30pm local time, authorities said they had not been able to make contact with the suspect for two hours.
About two hours later, police released a statement confirming a SWAT team had entered the building to find two people dead.
‘Two subjects have been located and were pronounced deceased. The APD homicide unit is on scene and investigating,’ police said in a statement on Twitter.