Worker killed at Suburban Hospital
POLICE LOCK DOWN BETHESDA FACILITY
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.