Police: Man strangled infants, assaulted staff at Texas hospital

An 18-year-old man is facing several charges, including attempted capital murder, after police say he assaulted two infants and staff at Odessa (Texas) Regional Medical Center on Oct. 3.

Nurses said Marcus McCowan Jr., who was visiting the hospital because his girlfriend was in labor, was yelling, screaming and acting "odd and unreasonable" on the evening of Oct. 3. He allegedly tried to break into the nursery before grabbing a baby from its mother and taking it into the lactation room. The mother had the baby in a carrier waiting to be discharged, according to KMID

A nurse said she saw Mr. McCowan with his hands around the baby's neck. The baby's face allegedly changed color from lack of oxygen before nurses and a security officer were able to wrestle the baby away. 

Mr. McCowan then allegedly ran into the nursery and grabbed another newborn and began strangling her. When the baby turned blue from lack of oxygen, he allegedly began to shake her and yelled "die," a respiratory therapist who witnessed the event said. 

Staff were able to pull Mr. McCowan to the ground while protecting the baby from further injuries, according to the report. 

Odessa police officers arrived at the hospital after nurses called 911 and said a man was choking an infant. After a scuffle, police took Mr. McCowan into custody. 

"I want to express my sincere gratitude to those who responded to the incident last evening, especially our nurses, therapists and security team who worked diligently to protect innocent babies and others," Odessa Regional Medical Center President Stacey Brown told NewsWest9 on Oct. 4. "The staff and physicians, along with the response team from Odessa Police Department, are incredible heroes and we are all so grateful to each of them. Our attention is now focused on caring for and supporting those who were impacted by this including our patients, their families, and our staff." 

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