AUSTIN, Texas (NewsNation Now) — An hourslong hostage situation at a doctor’s office in Austin, Texas, ended with a physician killing a pediatrician and then himself late Tuesday, police said.
Austin police said Wednesday that a SWAT team found the bodies of Dr. Katherine Lindley Dodson and Dr. Bharat Narumanchi after negotiators spent hours trying to speak to the people inside Children’s Medical Group, a pediatrician’s office.
Narumanchi, who was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer, did not work at the clinic where he held five adult employees hostages for hours, Austin police Lt. Jeff Greenwalt said. No children were present at the time, he said.
The police report says as the incident unfolded, several hostages escaped and others were allowed to leave with the exception of the victim, later identified as Dr. Dodson. Hostages had reported to police that Narumanchi appeared to have a pistol, a shotgun and two duffel bags in his possession.
Police sent a robot into the building at around 10:45 p.m. on Tuesday. After the robot identified the victim, a SWAT team then entered and found the two deceased.
While Narumanchi didn’t work at Children’s Medical Group, police say he’d been at the office just last week to apply for a volunteer position. Narumanchi, also a pediatrician, was reportedly rejected for the role, NewsNation affiliate KXAN reported.
“We feel like his terminal cancer probably played a large part in whatever occurred in his life and what was happening yesterday,” an Austin officer said Wednesday. “But we don’t know why he targeted this particular business.”
It’s not believed Dodson and Narumanchi had any prior relationship.
The standoff proceeded into the night for several hours, and some people were evacuated from the area, police said.
KXAN’s Jody Barr provided the below video of the communications from negotiators, which are loud enough to be heard in nearby blocks.
“I heard the booms,” said witness Shelley Todd, who lives less than a block from the scene.
“We were a quiet neighborhood, you know we’re dog-friendly, we’re people-friendly, and for this to go on, and we’re a medical neighborhood, too. I know people that go to that office,” Todd continued.
She called the situation distressing, especially considering how the world is right now with the coronavirus pandemic.
John Thomas also lives near the building. He said he heard the messages SWAT negotiators were broadcasting to the subject over and over for hours.
“I thought there were kids in there,” he said. “We didn’t have any idea [what was happening].”
Police later confirmed no patients had been in the office at the time.
The Associated Press and NewsNation affiliate KXAN contributed to this report.