Over the weekend, a man fatally shot two hospital employees in Dallas after accusing his girlfriend—who had just given birth—of cheating, according to investigators.
According to police and hospital officials, two people died in the shooting at Methodist Dallas Medical Center on Saturday: Katie Annette Flowers, a 63-year-old nurse, and social worker Jacqueline Pokuaa, 45.
According to the authorities, Nestor Hernandez, 30, started shooting at 11 a.m. when his girlfriend was giving birth to their child at the hospital. Hernandez was shot and wounded by a police officer, according to authorities. Hernandez was on release from prison and had been given permission to visit the hospital while sporting an ankle monitor.
“In my opinion, this is a failure of our criminal justice system,” Dallas police Chief Eddie Garcia said at a news conference Monday. “A violent individual such as this should not have been on ankle monitor and should have remained in custody.”
Although Hernandez has been charged with murder, it was unclear on Monday whether he has a lawyer who could speak for him. He wasn’t listed among those detained in the Dallas County jail, and according to authorities, he received treatment at Methodist before being transferred to a different hospital for additional care after the incident.
Since violence against healthcare workers has been on the rise, staff members claimed they had long since pushed for their protection and security before this incident.
“Even before this incident I can assure you safety, safety to patients, safety for families, safety for staff is top of mind, top priority,” DFW Hospital Council President and CEO Stephen Love said.
Since the epidemic, workplace violence has been a significant problem for hospitals.
“There’s still times when patients, patients’ families, visitors do get somewhat aggressive,” Love said. “This really got worse during the pandemic.”
According to a person who works for Methodist Dallas, she and other staff members are worried that the hospital isn’t doing enough to ensure their safety. She emphasized that there are no limitations on visitors and that no one is checked when they enter or exit the hospital.
Around 10:20 a.m., Hernandez visited the laboring woman at the hospital and started repeatedly hitting her in the head with a revolver, according to Garcia. Hernandez allegedly started punching his girlfriend after accusing her of adultery, according to an arrest warrant affidavit that WFAA-TV received.
According to the Dallas TV station’s report of the affidavit, Hernandez then began making “ominous” calls and texts to his family. He also reportedly informed his girlfriend that they would both die and said that “whoever comes in this room is going to die with us,” According to Garcia, he shot Pokuaa when she entered the room to tend to the victim, and then shot Flowers when she entered the room after hearing gunfire.
Hospital security chief claimed that when Sgt. Robert Rangel observed Flowers being shot, he alerted other officers and sought cover outside the space where Hernandez was reloading his weapon. Rangel shot Hernandez in the leg when he came out, and after a standoff, police arrested him, according to Garcia.
Garcia claimed that the infant who was there in the room was unharmed and that the woman Hernandez attacked received medical attention for her wounds.
After being found guilty of aggravated robbery, Hernandez was released from jail on parole in October, according to Amanda Hernandez, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. She said that the hospital allowed him to remain with his “significant other” while she gave birth.
Hernandez was on parole for a felony offense, but the authorities have not disclosed how he obtained a pistol. His criminal past or the fact that he was being monitored by an ankle monitor weren’t disclosed to the hospital, according to Methodist Medical System Police Chief Glen Fowler on Monday.
“That’s not something we normally inquire about for a parent,” Fowler said. “This is an extremely horrific, out-of-the-norm situation. I wish that we would have known, but that is not some information that was provided to us beforehand.”
Hernandez, according to Garcia, was given an eight-year sentence for violent robbery, of which he completed six before being granted parole last year. He was detained in March 2022 for a parole infraction and released to his parole officer in April. According to Garcia, Hernandez was taken into custody by Texas prisons in June after being detained by police in a Dallas suburb for a second parole infraction. He was released from custody in September while still sporting the ankle monitor he was wearing at the time of the shooting.
According to Dallas County records, Nestor Hernandez has been detained numerous times since 2011, including on suspicion of burglary, aggravated robbery, and unauthorized possession of a firearm by a felon.