KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A gunman opened fire outside a hospital yesterday, killing a woman and injuring two others before committing suicide, police said.
Knoxville Police Chief Sterling Owen IV said all the victims were female and current or former employees of Parkwest Medical Center. The attack happened about 4:30 p.m. outside the hospital's discharge area.
Police are still trying to determine a motive. A police spokesman said it did not appear that any of the victims were related to the suspect or that there was any connection between them. Spokesman Darrell DeBusk also said it did not appear the suspect was ever employed at the hospital.
The names of the victims and suspect weren't released by police because the families haven't yet been notified.
Two of the victims were taken to the trauma center at the University of Tennessee Medical Center. A hospital spokesman declined to give their conditions, citing federal privacy laws.
Linda Cody, whose father was a patient at the hospital, said she had gone to smoke a cigarette when she saw a man lying face down, surrounded by blood, outside the discharge area of the hospital.
She said she didn't know if the man, who wasn't moving, was dead or alive, but she had learned the victims had been shot in the same area where she normally smoked.
"It was scary," she said. "It kind of gives you the willies thinking that could have been me five seconds ago."
Cody, whose father was in the hospital, overheard a woman tell police that a gun was underneath the man.
Police put the hospital on lockdown as SWAT team members searched to make sure no one else involved with the attack had made it inside.
"The hospital is safe and is being reopened with limitations," Owen said.
Charles Billingsley was taking his sister to a nearby doctor's office and heard the shooting, though he wasn't close enough to see the attack.
"I heard five pistol shots, back to back, and then another and then another," Billingsley said. "I just saw people running from the hospital."
Police said the victims weren't related to the suspect or that there was any connection between them. It also did not appear that the suspect was ever employed at the hospital, DeBusk said.
Associated Press writer Sheila Burke in Nashville contributed to this story.