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Knoxville, Tennessee hospital shooting leaves 1 dead, 2 injured

4:43 AM, Apr 20, 2010   |    comments
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Video: Shooting at Parkwest Medical Center

Video: Web Extra: Police update on hospital shooting

  • The scene at Parkwest Hospital
  • The scene at Parkwest Medical Center

The Knoxville Police Department has identified the fatal shooting victim from Monday's shooting at Parkwest Medical Center.

Rachel Wattenbarger, age 40, was killed.  Investigators also confirmed the names of the two women who were injured as Ariane Guerin and Nancy Chancellor. They are hospitalized in fair condition at UT Medical Center.

KPD says they have identified the shooter, who killed himself, but will not release the name until his family has been located and notified.

Investigators are still examining evidence recovered from the scene as well as reviewing information obtained during interviews with witnesses.

Parkwest employees react

Monday's shooting stunned employees at Parkwest Medical

"I couldn't believe it.  I have just never heard of a shooting at a hospital," said staff nurse Susan Young.  "I can't understand would want to shoot people at Parkwest?"

Young is particularly counting her blessings.  She narrowly avoided the scene of the shooting Monday afternoon.  After clocking out for the workday, she had almost reached the exit at discharge door number five where the shooting eventually took place.  Then something made her turn around.

"I realized I was on call and did not have my beeper.  I stood there for a minute thinking about whether or not I should go back and get it since they can still reach me on my cell phone. Then I just decided to go back and get it," said Young. 

Young saw the gunman walking down the hallway just prior to the shooting.

"When I was walking back, the fellow I guess who became the gunman passed by me in the hall and was heading for door number five, the discharge door.  I remember looking up at him and just kind of nodding.  If I hadn't gone back for my beeper, I would have been standing there [door five] for the bus right when the gunman was there."

Young and other staff members assisted the victims until they could be transported to UT Medical Center's trauma unit.  In the meantime, SWAT units put the hospital on lockdown and conducted a sweep to ensure there were no other shooters.

"The next thing I know the SWAT guys are in there checking on us.  It had us all pretty shook up," said employee Pam Penland.  "I just couldn't believe something like this could happen at Parkwest.  I was so shook up that when I walked out to my car, I kept looking in people's hands to make sure nobody had a gun." 

"The thing that bothers me is to think that something like this can happen in Knoxville.  To have this kind of thing so close to home is just shocking," said Young.

Young said she expects Tuesday to be a difficult day at the hospital as employees return to work at the scene of the crime.  Yet, she expects the staff will manage to prevent Monday's shooting from impacting their services.

"People who work in medicine are used to having the mentality of 'life goes on.'  We have a knack of putting things behind us to make sure the job gets done," said Young.

Victims' families release statement

The two surviving victims of the Parkwest Medical Center shooting have been identified by their families as Nancy Chancellor, age 32, and Ariane Reagan Guerin, age 26. 

In a statement, Chancellor's family said:

"Our family is very appreciative for all of the thoughts and prayers we've received for Nancy. Despite what she has been through, she is doing very well. Nancy asked that everyone pray for the other victims and their families."

In a statement, Reagan Guerin's family said:

"The family of Ariane is thankful for the overwhelming outpouring of support for Ariane. We are hearing very promising information at this point about Ariane's prognosis and we truly appreciate all of the thoughts and prayers."

The two are being treated at UT Medical Center, which cannot release their current conditions.   They were taken to UT because it is the only Level 1 trauma center in Knoxville.  They are better equipped to treat gunshot victims.

Previous story: 1 victim killed, 2 victims injured, shooter dead

The presumed gunman and one victim of the Parkwest Medical Center shooting have died. Two additional victims have been transported by ambulance to UT Medical Center.

Knoxville Police Chief Sterling Owen IV said all three victims were female and are current or past employees of Parkwest Medical Center.

The presumed gunman is dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound; one of those victims is also deceased.

No names are being released, pending family notification.

The presumed gunman was not a current or former employee of Parkwest, as far as police know. The shooting happened at Door #5, the patient discharge door on the east end of the hospital.

The SWAT teams for KPD and the Knox County Sheriff's Office have done a security sweep of the hospital, and Owen said the hospital is now safe. It has been reopened on a limited basis.

Police are still processing the scene of the shooting and interviewing witnesses. No motive is known at this time.

Previous: Shooter down

The "shooter is down" in a multiple-victim shooting at Parkwest Medical Center, according to the Knoxville Fire Department.

Firefighters moved in, after police and deputies secured the scene.

The official word from KFD is that the shooter is down, and there are three victims in the shooting, which occurred near Door #5, the patient discharge door on the east end of the hospital.

The Knoxville Police Department said the shooting happened at 4:34 p.m.

Witness Charles Billingsley said he heard 5 gunshots fired, then people running from the scene.

KPD spokesman Darrell DeBusk said three people were shot; one additional person suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The person with the self-inflicted gunshot wound is believed to be the person who shot the others.

DeBusk said the presumed shooter is believed to be dead.

There is no further information on the victims available at this time.

The hospital went on lockdown as Knoxville Police Department officers and Knox County Sheriff's Office deputies responded to the scene.

A SWAT team is going from floor to floor in Parkwest hospital, checking the scene. The hospital remains on lockdown as of 5:20 p.m.

UT Medical Center received trauma patients by ground transportation from the scene of the shooting; those ambulances arrived around 6 p.m.

Stick with and 10News for updates as they become available.

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