EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

February 27, 2014

Police: Patient demands extracted bullet

Threatens nurse after she refuses

By Mike LaBella
mlabella@eagletribune.com

---- — HAVERHILL — Police said a man who had a bullet removed from his hand at Merrimack Valley Hospital threatened to shoot a nurse if she didn’t give the bullet to him.

Police said Justin Locklear, who became angry when the nurse refused to cooperate, asked the nurse her name.

Assistant District Attorney John DePaulo referred to the incident as a “complete societal breakdown ... where an emergency room nurse has to tell a person that’s why they don’t have our last names on our name tags.”

Locklear, 20, of 1 Water St., Apt. 802, is charged with threatening to commit a crime. According to a police report, the charge came after the nurse told him bullets removed from patients’ bodies must, by hospital rule, be given to police.

The nurse said Locklear was awake when he came out of the operating room after the bullet was removed. While she was hooking him up to monitoring machines, he asked her, “Where does the bullet go?” according to police. When she told Locklear that it goes to the Police Department, he became very upset, according to the report.

“He kept saying, ‘I want to go, I want to go,’” the nurse told police, adding that Locklear began removing his monitoring apparatus.

Locklear then tried to remove his IV, and when the nurse told him to stop or else he might injure himself, Locklear lashed out at her, the police report said.

“I’ll shoot you when you get out of here,” he said to her, according to the report.

Locklear asked the nurse for her last name, and she told him “that’s why” employee badges don’t include last names, the report said.

No information about how Locklear was shot was available.

The incident occurred on Dec. 1. Locklear has since appeared in Haverhill District Court. Bail was set at $1,000 cash and he was issued a 60-day warning, meaning if he is charged with another offense while his case is pending, he could be ordered held for up to 60 days without bail.

At 1:35 p.m. on the day of the incident, police Officer Nicole Donnelly was sent to Merrimack Valley Hospital on a report of threats made to a staff member. When Donnelly arrived, she met Locklear in the hospital parking lot. Donnelly noted in her police report that she remembered Locklear, whom she had seen at the police station on Dec. 3.

Donnelly said Locklear was trying to leave the hospital after the bullet was removed from his hand. Donnelly approached Locklear, who was getting ready to leave in his car, and asked him about any threats he may have made to the hospital’s nursing staff.

Locklear denied making threats and told Donnelly that he felt dizzy because of the medicine he was given for his procedure. When Donnelly turned to speak with a hospital security guard, she overheard Locklear say he just wanted to go home. Locklear stepped out of his car, told Donnelly that he didn’t feel good, then fell to the ground, according to the police report.

Emergency room staff members used a gurney to move Locklear back into the emergency room for evaluation. While there, Locklear started getting upset and said, “Whatever I said I was under the influence,” according to the police report.

Donnelly said she spoke to the operating room recovery nurse who had allegedly been threatened by Locklear. The nurse told Donnelly that Locklear threatened to shoot her.

Police said they are provided with bullets that are removed from hospital patients so they can run ballistics tests for potential matches to crimes that have been committed.