Worker killed at Sub­ur­ban Hos­pi­tal


The Washington Post Sunday - - METRO - BY RUBEN CAS­TANEDA

At­tacker not found af­ter search of more than 3 hours

An em­ployee was killed in­side Sub­ur­ban Hos­pi­tal in Bethesda on Satur­day, prompt­ing Mont­gomery County po­lice to put the fa­cil­ity on lock­down for more than three hours as they searched for the at­tacker, au­thor­i­ties said.

Dozens of of­fi­cers, and at least one po­lice dog, searched the en­tire 222-bed hos­pi­tal and ac­counted for ev­ery pa­tient, hos­pi­tal em­ployee and vis­i­tor, said Lu­cille Baur, a po­lice spokes­woman. The at­tacker has not yet been found. As the search was con­ducted, vis­i­tors and pa­tients were not al­lowed to leave the hos­pi­tal, and peo­ple who were be­ing brought to the fa­cil­ity for treat­ment were di­verted to other hos­pi­tals, said Ronna Borenstein, a Sub­ur­ban spokes­woman.

The hos­pi­tal was re­opened shortly be­fore 2:30 p.m., af­ter po­lice de­ter­mined that there was no dan­ger to pa­tients, vis­i­tors or staff mem­bers, Baur said.

Cit­ing the on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion, of­fi­cials said lit­tle about the cir­cum­stances of the death, which Baur said is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated as a homi­cide. Baur said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is “very ac­tive,” but said po­lice did not have a de­scrip­tion of any pos­si­ble sus­pect; she would not say whether they be­lieve they have iden­ti­fied one.

The vic­tim, a 40-year-old man, was found in a “non-pa­tient care” area of the hos­pi­tal, Borenstein said, but she did not say whether the area in ques­tion is open to the pub­lic or re­stricted to hos­pi­tal work­ers.

Baur said that the man had suf­fered trauma to the up­per body, but de­clined

to be more spe­cific.

Po­lice were dis­patched to the hos­pi­tal af­ter re­ports of a stab­bing, but Baur would not con­firm that the vic­tim was stabbed to death.

Po­lice were no­ti­fy­ing the vic­tim’s relatives and said his name would prob­a­bly be re­leased Sun­day.

The vic­tim had worked at the hos­pi­tal since 2006, Borenstein said, but she did not spec­ify what his job was.

Borenstein and Baur also would not de­tail the cir­cum­stances un­der which the vic­tim was found, de­clin­ing to say whether an­other hos­pi­tal worker found him or whether some­one in the fa­cil­ity heard a com­mo­tion.

The search for the at­tacker kept some vis­i­tors locked in­side the hos­pi­tal for hours.

One of those vis­i­tors, Diane Hack Gould, said the mood in­side was calm, even as po­lice searched ev­ery room.

Hack Gould said she ar­rived at Sub­ur­ban at about 10:45 a.m. Satur­day — as po­lice were lock­hos­pi­tal ing down the hos­pi­tal — to visit her mother.

A po­lice of­fi­cer stopped her in a hall­way and said she couldn’t come in­side, Hack Gould said. She said she then ex­plained that her mother is in crit­i­cal con­di­tion, and the of­fi­cer let her con­tinue on her way to her mother’s room af­ter tak­ing her name and phone num­ber.

Hack Gould said she went to an el­e­va­tor to get to her mother’s floor, and that when the door opened, three po­lice of­fi­cers and a po­lice dog were in­side. “ The of­fi­cers sug­gested I take an­other el­e­va­tor,” she said.

She said she made it to her mother’s room and found that po­lice were go­ing into each room, ask­ing for driver’s li­censes or other photo IDs from each vis­i­tor and mak­ing copies.

While the search went on, doc­tors and nurses made their rounds and meals were served to pa­tients, Hack Gould said.

“ They [hos­pi­tal staff ] didn’t ex­hibit any fear at all,” she said. “Ev­ery­body was calm, ev­ery­thing was go­ing on as nor­mal.”

Borenstein said the hos­pi­tal ini­ti­ated its emer­gency pro­to­col, which in­cluded e-mail up­dates to hos­pi­tal per­son­nel ev­ery 15 min­utes.

Hos­pi­tal work­ers were told in the e-mails that po­lice were at the fa­cil­ity be­cause some­one had been as­saulted, but were not given fur­ther de­tails, Borenstein said.

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