UPDATE: Shooter of 2 Methodist Dallas Medical Center Employees Receives Life Sentence
The suspect, who was on parole, was granted permission to be at the hospital during the birth of his child.
UPDATE NOVEMBER 10, 2023:
Nestor Hernandez, 31, was sentenced to life in prison on Thursday for the fatal 2022 shooting of two Methodist Dallas Medical Center employees. At the time of the shooting, Hernandez was arguing with his girlfriend at the hospital shortly after she gave birth to their child, reports NBC News.
ORIGINAL OCTOBER 24, 2022 ARTICLE:
DALLAS, Texas — A man was arrested Saturday morning after police say he fatally shot two employees at the Methodist Dallas Medical Center.
The suspect, 30-year-old Nestor Hernandez, has been charged with capital murder, reports WFAA. Hernandez was on parole for aggravated robbery and was wearing an active ankle monitor. He was released on Oct. 20, 2021, after serving six years.
Despite having been arrested twice this year for parole violations, Hernandez was granted permission to be at the hospital while his girlfriend gave birth to their child, said Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesperson Amanda Hernandez. Police responded to reports of a shooting at the hospital around 11:15 a.m. When officers arrived, they discovered two employees had been shot in the labor and delivery area. The victims have been identified as 45-year-old Jacqueline Pokuaa, a social worker, and 63-year-old Annette Flowers, a nurse.
According to an arrest warrant, Hernandez began “acting strangely” and accused his girlfriend of cheating on him after the baby was born. The suspect started searching the room to see if anyone else was in there and pulled out a handgun, hitting his girlfriend in the head with it multiple times.
The warrant says the girlfriend told police Hernandez made statements such as “We are both going to die today” and “Whoever comes in this room is going to die with us.” Hernandez then allegedly made “ominous phone calls and text messages to his family,” the affidavit states.
The first victim entered the room and was fatally shot. The second victim and a Methodist Hospital police officer were in the hallway and heard the gunshot. The second victim then looked into the room and was fatally shot.
The officer took cover and shot Hernandez in the right leg as he was reloading his handgun and started to leave the room. Hernandez went back into the room after being shot. After a standoff with police, he was detained, stabilized, and taken to another hospital for treatment. He is now facing capital murder charges.
The newborn was in the room at the time of the shooting but was not injured.
Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia wrote in a tweet that he was “outraged” at the “abhorrent failure of our criminal justice system.” He said the police department did not know Hernandez was given permission to be at the hospital.
“The fact that under this broken system, we give violent criminals more chances than our victims,” he said. “The pendulum has swung too far.”
The hospital released a statement, calling the shooting an “isolated and tragic event.”
“Out of an abundance of caution, police force staffing has been increased on the Methodist Dallas Medical Center campus, including for mothers and babies,” the statement continued.
In a statement released Saturday, Dr. Serena Bumpus, RN, CEO of the Texas Nurses Association (TNA), called the shooting “unacceptable.” The statement said nurses are three times more likely to endure violence than “all other professions.” On average, two nurses were assaulted each hour in the second quarter of 2022 in the United States, which equals 57 assaults per day.
“No person should fear for their life for merely going to work, especially a nurse or healthcare worker whose passion is to help others heal,” Bumpus wrote in the statement. “We hope our legislators understand that we need to protect our healthcare workers.”
The investigation is ongoing, with the Dallas Police Department assisting the Methodist Health System Police. The Texas prison system’s Office of Inspector General is also assisting in the investigation.
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