Philadelphia hospital mourns nursing assistant killed in shooting

Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia said the hospital is mourning a colleague who died Oct. 4 during a shooting at the facility.

"There is a flood of sadness for all of us. Our hearts are broken as we stand together to remember our colleague and recognize his teammates who tried to save him and protect other patients in the area. We also value the bravery of our security guards, as well as Philadelphia police who were injured in apprehending the suspect. You are all heroes," spokesperson John Brand said in a statement emailed to Becker's.

Mr. Brand added, "We stand united against violence. Today, we stand with each other, offer an extra measure of grace to each other, and encourage employees to reach out for help if they, or a colleague is in distress."

The comments come after police said a certified nursing assistant was shot and killed by a co-worker at the hospital early Oct. 4.

Police said the suspected shooter, 55-year-old male nursing assistant Stacey Hayes, shot a 43-year-old male certified nursing assistant, Anrae James, who was pronounced dead shortly after he was shot at the hospital, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. After the shooting in the hospital, police said Mr. Hayes drove off in a U-Haul van, and police eventually located him and got into a shootout with him near Parkside Avenue in West Philadelphia.Two Philadelphia police officers were shot and wounded during the shootout, as was Mr. Hayes, who was wearing body armor and had weapons with him. The officers and Mr. Hayes are expected to survive, the Inquirer reported.

Chesley Lightsey, homicide chief in the district attorney's office, said investigators believe the nursing assistants were friends, but a clear motive has not been determined, according to the Inquirer.

In light of this incident, Mr. Brand issued a statement emphasizing that the hospital, and all Jefferson Health facilities, have comprehensive, consistent security measures and processes in place, as well as policies, procedures, ongoing training and drills to ease safety risks.

"Jefferson does not permit weapons on any of its campuses," he said.

Mr. Brand said the hospital is offering counseling support for employees and patients and will continue to work closely with law enforcement during their investigation.

"We are also very proud of the professionalism and dedication of our colleagues, who despite this tragic incident, continued to carry out their duties taking care of their patients and each other," said Mr. Brand, adding that a "thorough review will take place to ensure best practices in our safety protocols for all Jefferson facilities."

He did not provide specifics about how Mr. Hayes may have been able to access a hospital floor, fire a weapon and then leave the facility, according to the Inquirer.

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