Local News

Officer shoots ER patient at Henderson hospital

Posted May 11, 2011
Updated May 12, 2011

— A police officer shot a patient during an altercation in the emergency room of a Henderson hospital Wednesday afternoon, officials said.

Henderson Police Chief Keith Sidwell said in a statement that Officer William Aiken was guarding a male patient who was being involuntarily committed at Maria Parham Medical Center when the patient became irate and combative, striking Aiken in the knee and head.

Aiken shot him in the leg after various attempts to calm and subdue him, including using a stun gun and pepper spray, Sidwell said.

The identity of the patient hasn't been released.

Aiken, who has been with the Henderson Police Department since the beginning of 2009, was placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of a review by the State Bureau of Investigation, which is standard procedure for officer-involved shootings.

The emergency room remained open to patients, but police limited access to the area so the SBI could investigate.

"We would like to commend our hospital staff for their quick and proper response to the events that unfolded," hospital administrators said in a statement.

"Our staff members are specially trained in how to react to events like these. Their first action is to ensure the safety of our patients, visitors and staff, and they acted accordingly," the statement continued.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • LIR May 12, 2011

    I sat with IVC patients for over 5 years in the ER and on different floors of the hospital. We only had LE if things got out of hand and LE did not work every night. A mental patient can be very difficult at times to handle. Most of them that I've sat with was due to them not having their meds in several days that caused them to get violent. Hospitals should really consider not having them in the general populations as other patients. Most ER's are large enough to have a special area for these patients and they should also be treated with respect and not treated as though they come from a 3rd world country. I've seen this so much and I've seen then get drug-up so the staff would not have to bothered with them. One was so drugged up that they had to take him to ICU where he stayed for several days. Staff mistake - not the patients. He came very close to death. Thinking about writing a book one day telling what "really" goes on in the ER. :)

  • anne53ozzy May 12, 2011

    I do not know details here but it seems there ought to have been other measures taken rather than to shoot this person. I am assuming there were many other persons in the facility and they could have restrained him, as they do in any place that houses mentally or emotionally unbalanced people. Were that not the case, would we no be shooting those housed at institutions daily? This seems to me a case where this level of injury should not have been metted to this person.

  • doubletrouble May 12, 2011

    There seems to be SO many arm-chair quarterbacks. The officer tried using non-lethal force to subdue the person. The person was still attacking the police officer. As someone else has stated, ask any LEO, or EMT about the effects some drugs can do towards a human's strength. Why there were not more individuals to assist the officer, who knows. The officer had the right to protect himself, as well as others in the hospital, by using lethal force on this crazed individual. They offer BLET twice a year, in just about every county. I'm sure so many could do a much better job, course, it's a job not many want to do, at such low pay. These guys have to LOVE their work, and want to protect their community.

  • cfrn May 12, 2011

    JustMyOpinionNC...And HOW would you be able to get medication into a patient that was unwilling to have an IV or to take any oral meds?????

  • voiceofreason32 May 12, 2011

    if any of you think he intentionally shot him in the leg, you would be wrong....obviously from the story they were fighting in close quarters "struck on the head," gun came out, and discharged during the fight...hit the guy in the leg

  • letssee May 12, 2011


    So So TRUE!!

  • jjesusfreak01 May 12, 2011

    Do any of you people know how difficult it would be to intentionally shoot someone in the leg? I hope that officer was using hollow-point ammo, because otherwise he would be just as likely to hit the 5 year old in the next room. Guns are designed to kill, and any officer intentionally using one to maim is dangerous and needs to be removed from the force.

  • backert79 May 12, 2011

    For those of you crying foul, you've obv never worked in an ER and been threatened by a patient. Commitment doesnt necessarily mean mental illness, more often its drugs. A man on certain drugs can possess insane force beyond your imagination. I too commend the officer for finally deciding to not put up with it, and defend himself first. Until you've been in a police officer's shoes and had your life threatened, don't judge. Plus, he shot him in the leg, it obviously wasnt an attempt at deadly force. It a stun gun and peeper spray didnt work, it was drugs NOT mental illness. Hardcore drugs, not weed or something like that, prob PCP. The fact that the perp was given medical care and not taken straight to jail in part sums up whats wrong with the system, we keep coddling criminals and my tax dollars and that cops pay for it. Even if he was mentally ill, the safety of that officer and the rest of the hospital staff comes first. Mental illness isnt a free pass 4 bad behavior.

  • rodcrooms May 12, 2011

    officers are trained to use deadly force to protect themselves and others in the face of deadly force used against themselves and others. the patient did not have a weapon. the hospital is the last place where you want to fire a gun. the officer placed others at risk by utilizing deadly force. officers are trained to handle dangerous situations without the use of deadly force. officers are traned to shoot and kill not to slow a person down. the officer probably panicked and used deadly force on a mentally distrub person who was out of control. this is not atypical behavior for a mentally ill person and it is not uncommon for a mentally ill person to fight the police. i guess it is not uncommon for the police to shoot unarmed people.

  • JustmyopinionNC May 12, 2011

    I appreciate the job law enforcements does for all of us each day however I find it hard to believe that this was the only way the officer had to "control" this patient. Yes, I read that he tried a stun gun and pepper spray BEFORE he shot him. My question is were meds not tried by the medical staff before it got to this point?