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Suspected shooter arrested in the killing of two employees at Dallas hospital

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | October 26, 2022
A man has been arrested as a suspect in the fatal shooting of two hospital employees at Methodist Dallas Medical Center. (Photo courtesy of Methodist Dallas Medical Center)
Authorities have arrested a 30-year-old suspect in connection with the fatal shooting of two hospital employees at Methodist Dallas Medical Center.

Nestor Hernandez has been charged with capital murder in the deaths of nurse Jaqueline Pokuaa, 45 and caseworker Katie Flowers, 63, said the Dallas County Police Department.

Hernandez arrived at the hospital at approximately 10:21 a.m. on October 22 to see his girlfriend, who was giving birth in the mother/baby unit. The suspect, who was paroled in October 2021 for aggravated robbery, was wearing “an active ankle monitor,” said police, and was given permission by the hospital to be present with his significant other at the birth of their child.

At some point, he pulled out a gun and began repeatedly hitting his partner. Pouka came in and was attending to the patient when Hernandez stood up, moved toward and shot her once. Flowers heard the shot and looked into the room. Hernandez shot at her from the doorway. Both employees died from their injuries.

“The Methodist Health System Family is heartbroken at the loss of two of our beloved team members. Our entire organization is grieving over this unimaginable tragedy,” said Methodist Health leaders in a statement.

Methodist Health System Sgt. Robert Rangel saw Flowers shot and called for help. Hernandez reportedly reloaded his gun and started to leave the room when Rangel shot him in the leg.

He then retreated back to the room and after a standoff with police, was taken into custody. He was stabilized and treated at the hospital before being transferred to another local provider.

The patient who was hit by Hernandez prior to the shooting was treated for her injuries. Their newborn child was in the room at the time of the incident but was unharmed.

Methodist Health System's Police Chief Glen Fowler said the hospital would "drastically enhance police and security presence", especially in public areas like labor and delivery. Prior to the shooting, it installed new camera systems, increased physical security measures, and held ongoing active-shooting training for employees.

Fowler said hospital police were not warned that Hernandez would be there or about his parole, according to the Dallas Morning News.

"Anything about his criminal history, that's not something that we normally inquire about for a parent in our NICU or mother-baby units," he said, calling the situation "extremely horrific" and "out-of-the-norm."

Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia tweeted that he was “outraged” and attributed the incident to a "broken system" where violent criminals get "more chances, than our victims."

A motive is still unclear. Police are investigating with the help of the Texas prison system’s Office of Inspector General.

The incident follows several other hospital shootings, including one in September at CHI St. Vincent North hospital in Arkansas that left one man dead.

Another in June left five people, including the gunman, dead and multiple people injured at Saint Francis Health System in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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