NC Hospital's ED Locked Down After Shooting

John Commins, February 17, 2010

An early morning fight at a roadhouse on Presidents Day spilled into the emergency department at Scotland Memorial Hospital in Laurinburg, NC, and ended in a shooting that left a patient in critical condition, his alleged assailant in jail, and the hospital in lockdown.

Scotland Memorial officials issued a statement detailing the 3 a.m. shooting on Monday morning, which remains under investigation by Laurinburg police.

"An individual, stating he was a patient's brother, asked to be let into the Emergency Center to visit his brother. The patient was being treated for a facial laceration that he stated he received as an innocent bystander of a fight that broke out between others. He essentially told the police the same story," the hospital statement read.

"The suspected shooter, upon entering into the patient's room shot him several times and then left the room, wandering around the Emergency Center, looking for an exit, finally exiting from the X-ray area."

"The Scotland Memorial Hospital Emergency Center staff initially took cover, then immediately called 911 and the nursing supervisor once the suspect left their area. The supervisor called the hospital units, alerting them—all units secured themselves and their patients. EC staff quickly returned to their patient care duties, including caring for the injured patient and later, the suspect himself. Local law enforcement responded quickly and captured the suspect on the hospital grounds," the statement read.

The hospital was put into lockdown for several hours following the incident. No visitors were allowed in or out of the facility until 7 a.m., but security staff used wands to check Emergency Center visitors, according to Scotland Memorial.

Scotland Memorial CEO/President Greg Wood said that the wounded patient suffered critical injuries, and has been removed from the hospital.

"We have never experienced anything like this in our hospital before," Wood said in a media release. "The safety of our patients, visitors, and staff is of paramount importance to us and we have extensive security measures in place to minimize the likelihood of such a horrific incident as this. Staff is receiving stress debriefing and we will conduct a thorough review of our policies to see how to strengthen our security even more. Our staff responded with the professionalism expected of them, ensuring that their co-workers and the other patients were unharmed."

Calls to the Laurinburg Police Department were not immediately returned. However, The Fayetteville (NC) Observer reported that police identified the shooting victim as Domario Covington, and that he suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the chest. The alleged gunman was identified as Wayne "Wolf" Simmons, 49. Police told the newspaper the shooting stemmed from an incident at a nightclub in nearby McColl, SC.

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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