Police, Hospital Investigate Gun Incident

Police frisk the juvenile suspect.
Police frisk the juvenile suspect.

Officials at Memorial Health University Medical Center are taking a good hard look today at how three teenaged boys brought a gun into the hospital last night, and why. This is exactly the kind of thing they work to prevent, so hospital officials are very concerned.

A hospital is one of those places you should not have to worry about guns and crime, but the only people going in and out of Memorial Health Monday night were police, locking the place down because they say three teenaged boys came into the hospital with at least one gun.

The boys went through the lobby and up to the second floor.

"I think the people who were at the desk noticed they were out of place and called security," said Rusty Ross, vice president of Memorial Health.

That's when the boys ran. When the security officer realized what was going on, he called other security officers and put the hospital on lockdown. That means all the entrances were either sealed off or were manned by other guards.

Police caught two of the boys. They arrested the 15-year-old for having a gun inside the hospital. Officers found the gun in some bushes on hospital grounds.

Officers released the 16-year-old to his parents.

The other boy got away. Detectives are trying to figure out who he is. They are also trying to figure out why the boys brought a gun to the second floor, where many hospital patients are staying.

Hospital officials believe the boys may have been targeting a patient who was involved in a recent crime. But Ross was quick to point out, "We can't turn someone down who needs medical services because they were involved in some sort of incident or crime. We have to take care of people and that's what we are doing."

He says that's why they have hospital security in the first place.

Even though the hospital has heightened security, it was business as usual today.

Police are being pretty tight-lipped on the situation. Right now, their focus in on finding that third boy.

Reported by: Michelle Paynter, mpaynter@wtoc.com