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Springfield Police are investigating a shooting at CoxHealth on South National over the weekend. KSMU’s Shane Franklin has this update.
The gunshots rang out on the 9th floor of the Cox South facility Saturday night shortly after 9. Springfield Police responded to the scene, where two people were shot.
79-year-old Booker Cox Jr. was pronounced dead as a result of his wound. Cox’s wife, Carolyn, age 69, was visiting him in the hospital room where the gun was discharged. She too was shot, and is being treated.
Captain Vance Holland with SPD told KSMU Monday morning that officials do not believe this to be a random act, and that it does not pose a threat to the community. He later released an update, where Holland said it appears that Cox shot himself, but it’s still unclear why Carolyn was in involved in the incident.
Holland declined to comment on the security response Saturday night from CoxHealth.
CoxHealth did not immediately return our calls regarding their response to the shooting.
Update: 3:30 p.m. Tuesday:
In a statement to KSMU, CoxHealth noted they have a robust, armed security force, and thorough security procedures for all kinds of emergencies, adding security staff responded almost immediately to the weekend shooting.
“The security team responded appropriately to the situation. Staff responded immediately to provide medical treatment. We do everything we can to keep our patients, staff and visitors safe, and like other facilities open to the public – malls, college campuses, theaters, etc., we balance safety and security with access for patients and visitors.”
The statement adds that firearms are not allowed in the hospital, and that the notice is clearly posted on public entrances.
“Along with our armed security force that patrols the hospital grounds including parking lots and inside of the facility, the entrances to our emergency departments are staffed 24/7 with armed security personnel to provide for the safety of our staff and patients. We also use video surveillance.”
Original story continues below:
We also reached out to Mercy to learn of their hospital’s security measures. Media Specialist Sonya Kullmann released this response:
“Our thoughts and prayers are with our colleagues at CoxHealth as well as the families involved in this incident. Hospitals welcome everyone for care at all hours of the day, which is why we have a number of tools we use to try to keep our patients, community and co-workers safe,” the release stated.
The statement also detailed a video surveillance system, a security team trained in de-escalation, and close collaboration with local law enforcement.
Some security officers at Mercy are equipped with handguns and tasers. Kullmann says they pray they’ll never have to use them.
She declined to speak on the specifics of Mercy’s security procedures.
Based on the latest information Monday regarding what is now believed a self-inflicted gunshot wound on the 9th floor of Cox South, Springfield Police say no suspects are being sought, but the investigation will continue.