A man suspected of shooting a Johns Hopkins doctor has fatally shot himself and his mother, who had been hospitalized, according to Baltimore police. The shootings ended a four-hour standoff at Hopkins’ East Baltimore campus. The doctor, identified by Maryland TV stations as spinal surgeon David Cohen, was in critical condition with a bullet in the chest, but expected to live, police said. Anthony Guglielmi, Chief of Public Affairs for the Baltimore police, told reporters that the doctor was in a “critical condition” but later issued a statement saying: “The doctor is going to be OK. He’s in the best place in the world he could be.” (AFP) Dr. Cohen specializes in spine surgery, osteoporosis and scoliosis, according to his biography on the hospital’s website.
The suspect had barricaded himself on the eight floor of the hospital’s Nelson Building for about four hours, according to police. Authorities said that the shooter’s motives were still unclear, but Baltimore Sun reporter Justin Fenton said that a source said a man was disgruntled about his mother’s spine surgery, and shot her doctor. Guglielmi said that the shooting took place at around 11:15 a.m. and added the suspect, an African-American male in his thirties. He is yet to be identified.
The Baltimore Sun reported that a nurse on the floor at the time of the shooting said, “The shooter was upset about the medical treatment of his mother. He was threatening to jump out of a window.”
Portions of the Nelson Building were placed on lockdown and other sections evacuated. Police shut down numerous roads in the area of Broadway, East Monument and North Wolfe streets. South of Monument and Wolfe was sealed off with trucks, cars and tape. Many unites are on the scene, including police, fire and SWAT teams. Snipers are set up outside the building. Visitors were escorted out of the buildings as far away as two blocks. On the streets surrounding the Hopkins complex, police and plainclothes officers and security staff were manning every corner as sirens sounded and a helicopter flew overhead. Officers were moving pedestrians, some with Hopkins badges, on Wolfe and Monument toward Broadway.
Hopkins sent out emergency e-mail and text advisories to staff at 11:15 a.m. stating “shooter on Nelson 8.” An employee at the Hopkins School of Public Health, which is across Wolfe Street from the complex containing the Nelson building, said that employees were told to stay in their offices. Across from the building, Xs could be seen on windows on the eight floor, presumably to note which rooms the suspect was not in. Students were told to stay away from the windows.
On Twitter, Baltimore Police announced to the public that the “incident is isolated to one relatively small part of the hospital. Persons who have businesses are encouraged to come,” Baltimore police said on Twitter. (Montreal Gazette)
A nurse who said she was on the floor at the time of the shooting said that the shooter was upset about the medical treatment of his mother. He was threatening to jump out of a window, she said. “I started running,” she said. “When you hear gunshots you run.” Ashley Davis said she saw the doctor come into the emergency room. “By the time I saw him, he was on a stretcher and people were all around him,” she said. She said he was conscious and she didn’t see any blood. (LA Times)
Jacqueline Billy, a nurse who works in respiratory care, said she was on the seventh floor when the shooting took place. She got in an elevator, accidentally went up to the eight floor, and when the elevator doors opened, police with guns drawn ordered her to shut the door. “I was petrified, the door opened and there are a bunch of guns. You never expect that,” she said. (LA Times)
Johns Hopkins issued a statement that said, “The Johns Hopkins Hospital is grateful to the Baltimore City Police department for its successful efforts to end this situation and protect patients and visitors. The Hospital has temporarily continued restricted access to the Nelson Building but the rest of JHH is reopened and back to business as normal.” (ABC News)