911 Calls Detail Maryland Hospital Shooting Aftermath
A police vehicle arrives at Johns Hopkins Hospital, where a shooting was reported Thursday, Sept. 16, 2010. Baltimore police set up a tactical operation to deal with a gunman who is holed up on the eighth floor of Johns Hopkins hospital after shooting a
September 18, 2010
BALTIMORE — Deb McKeever was picking up her mother-in-law after surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital when a shot rang out down the hall.
“We all got quiet,” McKeever said Friday. “We were all really nervous, we really had no clue what going on … I was thinking of Virginia Tech, Columbine — you don’t know if he’s going to come walking up the hall, shooting people or what.”
McKeever described the scene a day after Paul Warren Pardus, who was visiting his elderly mother in the same hospital, shot her doctor and then killed his mother and himself.
McKeever told a 911 operator in recordings obtained by The Associated Press that she heard screaming down the hall as she and others barricaded themselves in a room after the gun went off.
A physical therapist peeked into the hallway and then told McKeever, her mother-in-law, a nurse and an occupational therapist that there was someone shooting on the floor and to get back in the room.
“My poor mother-in-law was bedridden, unable to walk, she was defenseless,” McKeever said.
A third caller told a 911 operator she was near Dr. David Cohen outside the eighth-floor room where the Pardus’s mother was being treated. She heard a loud shot and saw him fall to the floor.
“I was walking out and right next to me — it was loudest — it sounded like a shot,” the unidentified woman told the dispatcher. “It was very loud and one of the physicians next to me went down saying, ‘Help! Help! Help!’” And people that looked said, ’Go! Run! Get behind locked doors! Call 911!"
One frightened patient told a 911 operator that her parents were trying to keep the door to her room shut tight and she could hear nurses outside the room calling for a stretcher.
Pardus holed up in the room for more than two hours while authorities locked down a small section of the Nelson Building. The rest of the red-brick medical complex — a cluster of hospital, research and education buildings — remained open.
Police said Pardus subsequently killed his 84-year-old mother, Jean Davis, and himself.
Davis was being crippled by arthritis and rheumatism and had surgery last week at the world-renowned cancer hospital, but it didn’t go well, according another son, Alvin Gibson of Remington, Va.
Gibson speculated that his brother carried out the shooting “because he thought my mom was suffering because the surgery wasn’t successful and she probably wouldn’t be able to walk again.”
Investigators were checking whether Pardus had made any previous threats to Cohen or the hospital, but there was no sign of that by Friday, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.
Cohen, who is expected to survive, is one of several orthopedic doctors who work in rotation for the Baltimore Orioles.
Richie Bancells, head athletic trainer, said Cohen had been with them for many years and he saw Cohen at a recent home game.
“I was quickly relieved to hear that he was going to be fine and OK when he came out of surgery and we’re all happy to hear that,” Bancells said.
Associated Press writers Kathleen Miller, Nafeesa Syeed, Jessica Gresko and Ben Nuckols contributed to this report.
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