Local News

Shooting at Duke University Hospital ER a 'tragic incident,' plenty of questions remain

Posted January 17, 2022 1:08 p.m. EST
Updated January 17, 2022 5:49 p.m. EST

— Representatives of Duke University Hospital had little to add Monday, almost 72 hours after a man was shot and killed in the emergency department there.

Officials have said the man, whose name has not been released, was in custody of the Durham Police Department when he struggled with officers and managed to get possession of a gun. A Duke University police officer responding to the scene shot the man, Duke officials said.

Officials did not say how many times the man was shot and did not provide any additional information about how the shooting occurred.

Trauma staff at the hospital rendered aid to the man who was shot, but he did not survive.

A Durham police officer was also treated for injuries at the hospital on Friday night, but officials did not say to what extent he was injured. No other patients or hospital staff were physically injured.A hospital spokeswoman issued this statement on Monday:

"This tragic incident is the subject of an active investigation by the SBI, as required by law, and Duke has no further comment at this time. We remain grateful to the police officers from the Durham and Duke police departments for their quick and selfless action to prevent potential harm to others, and to the Duke health care professionals who immediately acted to protect the safety of their patients."

Witnesses told WRAL News that it was troubling seeing the large police presence and seeing nurses run out of the hospital. One mother said she heard gunshots coming from the emergency department entrance.

Scared to return to Duke hospital

Hannah Norcross went into shock after her experience. Her 10-year-old son has brain cancer and she visited the hospital that night because he was running a high fever. As they were leaving at about 10:15 p.m. Friday, the sound of gunshots grabbed her attention.

"I immediately thought active shooter," Norcross said.

Norcross and her son were shaken knowing how close they were to the situation.

"He doesn’t want to go back to Duke because he is afraid he will be shot," she said. "His words – from a 10-year-old."

Officers involved in the incident were wearing body cameras at the time of the shooting. State law requires that the release of that video to the public would have to be approved by a judge.

Duke University has around 70 police officers on staff and provides security to Duke University and its health system, according to Duke's website. Duke employs both police and security officers. The police officers with the university system are fully deputized and function as city officers.

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