Man in custody after barricading himself with gun and elderly mother in hospital room
A 61-year-old man is in custody after barricading himself in a hospital room with his 97-year-old mother in Albany, New York.
The Albany Medical Center went into lockdown on Monday when the man shut himself and his mother in a room with a gun, which was later found to have been a BB gun, according to WNYT.
Albany Police spokesperson Steve Smith said that “all the staff here are accounted for and safe. All the patients here in the hospital are safe”.
The man and his mother were both evaluated on Monday.
The initial report of a person with a weapon at the hospital reached police at 2.40pm.
A “Code Silver” was announced at the hospital, meaning that there’s potentially an active shooter situation, leading to businesses in the area shutting down.
Rebecca Speenburgh told WNYT said her family had just said their last goodbye to a loved one who had just passed when a nurse entered the room.
“We said our goodbyes. We were about to pack everything up and leave, and then the nurse came in and was like, ‘Um, we’re on lockdown, like, you can’t leave,’” she said.
Police used a flashbang at one point during the lockdown as a distraction, Mr Smith added. While it produced a loud noise, he wanted to ensure the public that it was not used in the hospital.
Law enforcement said patients were cared for and that no hospital employees were in danger. Some appointments had to be cancelled but the hospital continued to provide care for patients in critical condition.
“Our staff is resilient. They’ve faced a lot of challenges in the last couple of years,” a spokesperson at Albany Medical Center, Matt Markham, said according to WNYT. “Tonight is just another example of how hard they work, and how everybody really looks after each other here at Albany Medical Center.”
There have been no charges filed in the case as of yet, police said.
The lockdown lasted for about four hours, with the suspect, who remains unnamed, being taken into custody around 7.15pm on Monday, according to the Times Union.
The incident started after the man became aware that his mother was being transferred to another clinic, prompting him to threaten staff.
“We’re still trying to figure out what happened after that but he then barricaded himself in the room with a handgun,” Mr Smith said, according to the paper.
About an hour and a half before the incident was over, the man had been isolated to a single room and negotiation with law enforcement began.
This allowed security measures to loosen, and staff could be relieved by the evening shift workers.