New York hospital shooter had threatened co-workers after being fired | News | DW | 01.07.2017
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New York hospital shooter had threatened co-workers after being fired

Detectives are at a loss as to why the doctor would snap two years after he was fired over claims of sexual harassment. Colleagues had described the physician as "crazy" and aggressive.

New details emerged on Saturday about the shooter who killed a doctor and seriously injured six other people at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital in New York City on Friday.

According to former co-workers, the man, who had been a physician at the hospital, had threatened to kill them after he was let go from his position. He had a previous conviction for sexual assault.

New York media reported that Dr. Henry Bello entered the hospital on Friday afternoon, with an AR-15 assault rifle hidden under a white coat usually worn by laboratory technicians. He opened fire in the family medicine department where he had worked and killed a female doctor. He then went up to the 16th floor of the building and attempted to set himself on fire in a nurses' station. When the hospital's sprinkler system made that impossible, he shot himself and died.

"There are many, many details that we're still putting together," said New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. "This was a horrible situation unfolding in a place that people associated with care and comfort, a situation that came out of nowhere."

Investigators are puzzled as to why Bello behaved in such a way two years after he was fired over sexual harassment allegations. According to the New York Times, Bello had previously been convicted of sexual assault and unlawful imprisonment in 2004.

'He promised to kill us'

Speaking to the press, Bello's ex-colleagues described a man who was aggressive and "crazy."

"All the time he was a problem," said one-time boss Dr. David Lazala.

"We fired him because he was kind of crazy," Dr. Marueen Kwankam told the New York Daily News. "He promised to come back and kill us then."

The names of Bello's victims have not been released but the hospital said in a statement that three doctors and a medical student were in critical condition. Another victim, a patient who was shot in the leg, was stable.

"We've had a real tragedy here in the Bronx this afternoon," said Mayor de Blasio outside the hospital in the Morris Heights neighborhood. "It's something we've seen around the country, and now we've experienced it here."

es/jm (AP, Reuters)

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