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More details have been revealed about the terminally ill doctor suspected of killing a beloved Austin pediatrician before turning the gun on himself following an hourslong police standoff.
Austin Police Department (APD) investigators are still working to determine why Dr. Bharat Narumanchi targeted Children’s Medical Group pediatrician Dr. Katherine Lindley Dodson late Tuesday afternoon when he walked into the West 35 Street Office and took people hostage.
Four of the hostages — all of whom were adult employees — were able to get out, either by escaping or being released by Narumanchi, police said Wednesday. Dodson was unable to escape.
Narumanchi had applied — and was turned down — for a volunteer position at the firm just a week earlier, police said.
The family of Dr. Katherine Lindley Dodson, who was killed in a murder-suicide Tuesday, shared this photo.
(Family of Dr. Katherine Lindley Dodson)
Police said he encountered Dodson and other doctors during the previous visit, though police do not yet know why he targeted Dodson.
Narumanchi had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer and “was only given weeks to live,” Austin Police Lt. Jeff Greenwalt said.
“We feel like his terminal cancer probably played a large part in whatever it was that occurred in his life and what was happening yesterday,” Greenwalt said. “We don’t know exactly why he chose to take these actions or target this particular business. So we’re asking if anybody is as friends with either Dr. Dodson or Dr. Narumanchi, knows why he may have wanted to come to this particular business or knows what may have been going on in his life … Please call out to the Austin Police Department tip line.”
In a statement to CBS Austin on Wednesday, Narumanchi’s parents said they extended their “most sincere condolences and most fervent prayers to the family, friends and colleagues of Dr. Lindley Dodson.”
“We share your grief for a life so senselessly cut short. We don’t understand our son’s motives or actions but feel this time is best spent remembering Dr. Dodson and her contributions to this world,” their statement continues, in part. “The consequences of this action will live with us forever and we can only hope that faith, spiritual healing and God’s light will guide us through the darkness of this moment.”
Narumanchi does not appear to have a medical license in Austin and it’s not clear why he was seeking volunteer work in the Texas city.
Narumanchi had active medical licenses in Florida and California, according to docinfo.org. The Austin-American Statesman cites records in reporting that he also had licenses in Oklahoma, Connecticut and Wisconsin.
A now-deleted profile page on St. Joseph Heritage Healthcare’s website describes how Narumanchi went to medical school at Grenada’s St. George’s University School of Medicine until 2008 and then interned at the since-closed St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Center in New York City, according to the New York Post.
AUSTIN PEDIATRICIAN MURDERED DURING HOSTAGE INCIDENT REMEMBERED BY PARENTS, ‘SHE RADIATED POSITIVITY’
A law enforcement source told Fox News on Wednesday that a man with the same name and birthdate as Narumanchi was involved in a domestic incident in Manhattan in 2009. According to the source, the police were called after Narumanchi and his wife had a verbal argument over their child. No one was arrested and it does not appear the case amounted to anything.
KXAN Austin reported that Narumanchi was fired from St. Vincent’s in December 2009, prompting him to submit a grievance report.
Daniel Abernathy shared this photo of his son being treated by Dr. Dodson.
(Twitter / Daniel Abernathy @dabernathy89)
He worked as a pediatric resident in Honolulu, Hawaii’s, Tripler Army Medical Center, according to reports. While there in 2012, Narumanchi was accused of domestic abuse amid a custody battle with his ex-wife, the Statesman reported.
KXAN further reported that Narumanchi and his wife divorced in 2012, according to court records that link him to an Austin address. Records show residents have Narumanchi’s same last name, though he is not identified as an owner of the home.
A woman believed to be his ex-wife hung up when contacted by Fox News on Wednesday.
AUSTIN STANDOFF SUSPECT WAS RECENTLY DIAGNOSED WITH TERMINAL CANCER, HAD ‘WEEKS TO LIVE,’ POLICE SAY
Police said they received a call at 4:29 p.m. Tuesday for a report of a man that entered the business with a gun and was holding people hostage. Officers responded to find someone barricaded inside the office, prompting them to call in the SWAT team.
In addition to the pistol, police said Narumanchi had brought with him two duffel bags and an apparent shotgun.
The hostage situation lasted roughly six hours, local affiliate FOX 7 Austin reported. A negotiator at the scene could be heard saying: “I want to help you work through this. You have saved a lot of lives.”
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Greenwalt told reporters Wednesday they were able to get in touch with the suspect’s family “even before we discovered everybody deceased inside the business.”
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“They’re absolutely cooperating with the investigation. I think yesterday’s events surprise them as much as it did us,” Greenwalt said. “They had expressed interest in wanting to reach out to the victim’s family, too. This is a shock to them as it is to the rest of us program.”
Fox News’ Paul Best and Louis Casiano contributed to this report.
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