The terminally ill doctor suspected of bursting into an Austin, Texas children’s medical office Tuesday and killing a physician and himself may have been involved in a domestic dispute with his wife years earlier.
Dr. Bharat Narumanchi, 43, went to the Children’s Medical Group and displayed a gun and took several people inside — all adults — hostage. After an hours-long standoff, SWAT officers found him and Dr. Katherine Lindley Dodson dead.
A man with the same name and birthdate as Narumanchi was involved in a 2009 incident in New York City at a residence, a law enforcement source told Fox News. The source said there was a domestic incident involving the man’s wife that began as a verbal argument over their child.
The police were called and a report was filed. No one was arrested and it doesn’t appear the case ever amounted to anything. The Austin Police Department declined to confirm if Narumanchi was involved in such an incident.
Authorities said Narumanchi entered the medical office and displayed a gun before taking five hostages. Four were eventually able to escape.
A week before the killing, Narumanchi, also a pediatrician, applied for a volunteer position at the office was turned down. It was not clear if Dodson, also a pediatrician, turned him away. There was no known link between them, police said.
Narumanchi had just been diagnosed with terminal cancer and was given weeks to live, police said.
“We feel like his terminal cancer probably played a large part in whatever it was that occurred in his life and what was happening yesterday,” Austin Police Lt. Jeff Greenwalt told reporters Wednesday. “We don’t know exactly why he chose to take these actions or target this particular business.”
Dodson was beloved by patients and their families, several people told the Austin American-Statesman.
“You saw her at your worst when your kid was sick, and she just always had a smile on her face,” said Karen Vladeck, whose two children were among Dodson’s patients. “She made you feel like you were the only parent there, even though there was a line of kids waiting.”
A native of Baton Rouge, La., she attended medical school at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, KPLC-TV reported. In a statement, LSU Interim President Tom Galligan said the university was “shocked at the tragic loss of Lindley.”
“Words fail us but we offer our good thoughts, sympathy, and prayers to our friends and colleague,” he said.
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