Same old story: One dead after Philadelphia hospital shooting

A Philadelphia man is accused of going on a deadly crime spree Monday, killing a co-worker and shooting two police officers before he was finally stopped.

Sources say 55-year-old Stacey Hayes drove to the hospital around 12:08 a.m. in a U-Haul, walked to the ninth floor wearing blue scrubs, and shot his coworker who was identified as 43-year-old nursing assistant Anrae James.

Surveillance video reportedly shows James seated at a work station, as Hayes walked up behind him, shot a weapon and kept on firing as his victim tried to escape the gunfire.

While the horrific episode was captured on video and widely publicized, it was not at all unique or unusual in America, where there are more firearms than people and shockingly few restrictions on gun possession despite the murders of children, police or public officials and other innocent victims.

During the 72 hour-period surrounding the Philadelphia hospital shooting, there were 17 similar incidents in New Jersey, with a total of five deaths and 18 injuries, according to data collected by the Gun Violence Archive.

There has been no serious action by Congress to stem the deadly consequences of widespread access to millions of firearms in America.

The need for federal action to address gun violence is more urgent than ever, since 2020 was a devastating year for gun violence, with data showing that there were more than 19,000 gun-related homicides, including 612 mass shootings in which four or more people were shot.

According to one analysis, homicides increased 36 percent across 28 major cities, and communities of color bore a disproportionate burden of that violence.

At the same time, there was an unprecedented surge in gun sales in 2020, with an estimated 20 million guns sold.

Police said a certified nursing assistant was shot and killed by a co-worker Oct. 4 at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The suspect, a 55-year-old male nursing assistant, shot a 43-year-old male certified nursing assistant after midnight at the hospital, according to police.

“There was a male in scrubs with a weapon or a long gun who was firing, potentially firing rounds in the air,” said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw.

“The first officer is a 30-year-old who was struck in the right elbow. He’s in critical but stable condition. The second officer is a 32-year-old who was struck in the nose, who is in stable condition,” Outlaw said.

“The offender struck by the officers was struck in the upper body and in the neck. We learned that he was wearing body armor and was carrying multiple weapons in addition to the long gun which was believed to be an AR-15 and was also carrying some form of a handgun,” Outlaw said.

After the shooting in the hospital, the still unidentified suspect drove off in a U-Haul van at about 1:25 a.m., and police eventually located the suspect and got into a shootout with him near Parkside Avenue in West Philadelphia, KYW-TV, the CBS affiliate in Philadelphia, reported.

Four officers encountered him near a school in Fairmount Park early Monday. A gunfight ensued, and the suspect and two officers were shot. The two Philadelphia police officers shot during the exchange were in stable condition at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center as of the morning of Oct. 4.

The suspect, armed with multiple weapons including an assault-rifle and wearing body armor, was shot in the upper body and neck and was in critical condition as of the morning of Oct. 4, according to police.

The 43-year-old male nursing assistant was pronounced dead shortly after he was shot at the hospital.

Police said they are looking into the connection between the co-workers.

Chesley Lightsey, with the district attorney’s office, says the suspect’s motive is unknown, but the preliminary investigation leads them to believe the two were friends and the victim was targeted.

“It is pretty clear as it relates to the murder that happened of a 42-year-old, completely innocent victim, in Jefferson Hospital that the two people knew each other and early indications are that they were actually friends. We don’t know what the motivation was that caused our suspect to go in and murder the person. But he was clearly, based on everything I know, targeting this individual.”

“We do believe that other employee was targeted,” said Outlaw. “The reasons why, at this point, we still don’t know.”

Chesley Lightsey, with the district attorney’s office, says the suspect’s motive is unknown, but the preliminary investigation leads them to believe the two were friends and the victim was targeted.

“It is pretty clear as it relates to the murder that happened of a 42-year-old, completely innocent victim, in Jefferson Hospital that the two people knew each other and early indications are that they were actually friends,” said Lightsey. “We don’t know what the motivation was that caused our suspect to go in and murder the person. But he was clearly, based on everything I know, targeting this individual.”

Thomas Jefferson University Hospital spokesperson John Brand said he did not have a statement at this point and referred inquiries to law enforcement.

According to published reports, hospital employees were notified via text before 1 a.m. about an active shooter in the medical center.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney is again calling for stricter gun laws following the fatal shooting at Jefferson Hospital.

“This is yet another example of weaponry that is far too powerful being in the hands of people who shouldn’t have access to them. We need common-sense gun laws to stop these tragedies that have become all too frequent,” Kenney tweeted.

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