Hospital worker kills nursing assistant; 2 Philly cops shot

The suspect was also shot and taken into custody

By Rob Tornoe and Anna Orso
The Philadelphia Inquirer

PHILADELPHIA — A certified nursing assistant at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Center City was shot and killed by a coworker early Monday morning, according to police.

The suspect, a 55-year-old male nursing assistant, then fled the scene in a U-Haul van, eventually ending up in a shootout with Philadelphia police officers in the city's Parkside section. Two officers were shot, and the suspect — who police say was wearing body armor and carrying multiple weapons — was shot and apprehended by police.

The victim, a 43-year-old certified nursing assistant, was pronounced dead shortly after he was shot.

Police are investigating a connection between the two coworkers.

"We do believe that other employee was targeted," Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw told reporters Monday morning. "The reasons why, at this point we still don't know."

Outlaw said that police received a call shortly after midnight that there was an active shooter on the ninth floor of Jefferson. After shooting the victim, the suspect allegedly left the hospital around 1:25 a.m. in a U-Haul van while wearing scrubs.

A passerby flagged down officers in West Philadelphia's Parkside section, near the School of the Future, with reports of a man with a gun. The suspect fired at officers, striking two. Police said that the suspect was shot in the upper body and neck.

One of the police officers was shot in the elbow and is in critical but stable condition. The other was shot in the nose and is in stable condition. Outlaw said the two officers that were shot have been on the police force less than six years.

"When you think about this, this is something that typically you'd see in a movie or on a TV series," Outlaw said.

At Jefferson Monday, healthcare workers in scrubs flowed out onto 11th Street during a drizzly shift change around 7 a.m. One employee, who did not want to be identified because he was not authorized to discuss the matter, said he was on the same floor where the shooting occurred and that his coworkers are "terrified."

He said he didn't know the victim personally, but had seen him before.

"We tried our best," he said, "but we couldn't save him."

Employees were notified via text just before 1 a.m. that there was an active shooter in the Gibbon Building near 11th and Samson streets.

"Enact emergency procedures," it read. "Run, Hide, Fight."

Employees in a nearby building said an official spoke over a loudspeaker and told them to shelter in place. Some barricaded in a break room for nearly an hour.

Hospital officials said they plan to release more information later Monday.

This is the second workplace shooting Philadelphia has experienced in less than a week. Nassir Day, 25, a security guard for Pathways to Housing PA in Logan, was shot and killed on Friday.

"Active shooter situations are typically incidents that happen far and few in between... it's not supposed to happen this close together, but we are all prepared to respond quickly and deal with it, and that's what we will continue to do," Outlaw said.

The shootings have come amid the city's most violent year in decades. There have been at least 418 homicides in Philadelphia this year, according to police statistics, the highest number by early October in at least 35 years. Last year, the city recorded 499 homicides, and Philadelphia has not had back-to-back years exceeding 400 homicides since 1996.

"Obviously the numbers are staggering, it's heartbreaking in a lot of cases," Outlaw said. "There are a lot of juveniles involved, but it's not going to stop us from doing what we all signed up to do."

Staff writer Diane Mastrull contributed to this article.

(c)2021 The Philadelphia Inquirer

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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