Gun­man, physi­cian slain at NYC hos­pi­tal

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NATIONAL - COLLEEN LONG AND LARRY NEUMEISTER In­for­ma­tion for this ar­ti­cle was con­trib­uted by Steve Peo­ples and Karen Matthews of The As­so­ci­ated Press.

NEW YORK — A doc­tor forced from a New York hos­pi­tal be­cause of sex­ual ha­rass­ment ac­cu­sa­tions re­turned Fri­day with an as­sault ri­fle hid­den un­der a lab coat and shot seven peo­ple, killing one woman in an at­tack that left sev­eral doc­tors fight­ing for their lives, au­thor­i­ties said.

The gun­man, Dr. Henry Bello, fa­tally shot him­self after try­ing to set him­self on fire at Bronx-Lebanon Hos­pi­tal Cen­ter, they said. He stag­gered, bleed­ing, into a hall­way where he col­lapsed and died with the ri­fle at his side, of­fi­cials said.

Wit­nesses de­scribed a chaotic scene as gun­fire broke out, spread­ing ter­ror through­out the med­i­cal fa­cil­ity as em­ploy­ees locked them­selves in­side rooms and pa­tients feared for their lives.

“I thought I was go­ing to die,” said Re­naldo Del Vil­lar, a pa­tient who was in the third­floor emer­gency room get­ting treat­ment for a lower-back in­jury.

Law en­force­ment of­fi­cials iden­ti­fied the shooter as the 45-year-old Bello, who was de­scribed on the hos­pi­tal web­site as a fam­ily medicine physi­cian. Of­fi­cials said Bello used a ri­fle in the at­tack on the 16th and 17th floors.

Bello was al­lowed to re­sign from the hos­pi­tal in 2015 amid sex­ual ha­rass­ment al­le­ga­tions, ac­cord­ing to two law en­force­ment of­fi­cials. The of­fi­cials didn’t know the de­tails of the al­le­ga­tions.

The of­fi­cials were not au­tho­rized to dis­cuss the still-un­fold­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion and spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity.

In un­re­lated cases, the doc­tor had been ar­rested in 2004 on a charge of sex­ual abuse, ac­cord­ing to a po­lice re­port, after a 23-year-old woman told po­lice that Bello grabbed her, lifted her up and car­ried her off, say­ing, “You’re com­ing with me.” He was ar­rested again in 2009 on a charge of un­law­ful sur­veil­lance, after two dif­fer­ent women re­ported that he was try­ing to look up their skirts with a mir­ror.

Ul­ti­mately, one fe­male doc­tor was killed and six other peo­ple were wounded — five se­ri­ously, ac­cord­ing to Po­lice Com­mis­sioner James O’Neill. The pa­tients were treated in the emer­gency room at Bronx-Lebanon.

“This was a hor­ri­ble sit­u­a­tion un­fold­ing in a place that peo­ple as­so­ci­ated with care and com­fort, a sit­u­a­tion that came out of nowhere,” Mayor Bill de Bla­sio said, adding that ter­ror­ism was not in­volved in the at­tack.

Shortly after re­ceiv­ing a 911 call about an ac­tive shooter, po­lice of­fi­cers went floor by floor, their guns drawn, look­ing for the gun­man. They later learned he was dead in­side the build­ing. De Bla­sio con­firmed that Bello killed him­self.

Bello may have doused him­self with an ac­cel­er­ant like gaso­line and tried to set him­self on fire be­fore shoot­ing him­self, of­fi­cials said. Sprin­klers ex­tin­guished the fire.

Ac­cord­ing to New York State Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment records, Bello had a lim­ited per­mit to prac­tice as an in­ter­na­tional med­i­cal grad­u­ate to gain ex­pe­ri­ence in or­der to be li­censed. The per­mit was is­sued July 1, 2014, and ex­pired last year on the same day.

Em­ploy­ees and their loved ones de­scribed the hor­ri­fy­ing mo­ments as they scram­bled for in­for­ma­tion.

Garry Trim­ble said his fi­ancee, hos­pi­tal em­ployee Denise Brown, called him from in­side the hos­pi­tal to tell him about the gun­man.

“She woke me up and told me there was a sit­u­a­tion, some­body’s out there shoot­ing peo­ple,” Trim­ble said as he waited for Brown to leave the hos­pi­tal. “I could hear in her voice she was shak­ing and about to cry.”

Gon­zalo Carazo de­scribed the scary scene to WCBS-TV. “I saw one of the doc­tors and he had a gun­shot wound to his hand,” Carazo said.

“All I heard was a doc­tor say­ing, “Help, help!” Carazo locked him­self in a room for about 15 min­utes un­til po­lice came and led him out of the hos­pi­tal.

The 120-year-old hos­pi­tal has nearly 1,000 beds and one of the busiest emer­gency rooms in New York City. It is about 1½ miles from Yan­kee Sta­dium.

AP/MARY ALTAFFER

Po­lice help peo­ple cross the street out­side the Bronx Lebanon Hos­pi­tal in New York on Fri­day after a gun­man opened fire in the hos­pi­tal.

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