No gun found on suspect who was father of 3-year-old patient
Dozens of law enforcement officers surrounded Lake Charles Memorial Hospital Thursday morning after reports of a possible active shooter, but the situation ended peacefully, police said.
Lake Charles Police Deputy Chief Mark Kraus said although a suspect was located at the hospital, no gun was found, no shots were fired and the suspect was eventually released. He said SWAT officers and Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s deputies assisted in the effort.
“It’s better to report these things and be wrong,” he said. “At the end of the day, everyone is safe.”
Several schools near the hospital were locked down during the situation, according to CPSO spokesperson Kim Myers. Officers blocked off Oak Park Boulevard, the street running in front of the hospital, until the situation was resolved.
Edgar Sanchez told KATC-TV that he was the one detained by police. He said he tried to buy a bear, balloons and candy from the gift shop for his 3-year-old daughter who was scheduled to be released from the hospital at 10 a.m.
When the cashier refused to sell him the items, he returned to the room. Sanchez said SWAT officers went into the room about 30 minutes later and detained him. He said he only had a soda bottle under his blanket.
“I feel so mad. I feel like they’re being so racist to me,” Sanchez said.
Audrey Battle, 72, of Denton, Texas, told the American Press she was in a room on the hospital’s fifth floor visiting her grandson as events unfolded around her.
“My grandson had surgery on Tuesday,” Battle said. “I was just sitting in his hospital room watching TV this morning when a policeman opened the door and asked if I had seen a man come in the room. I said, ‘No.’ I was scared because I didn’t have any idea right then of what was going on.”
Battle said she was relieved that everything ended peacefully and that nobody was hurt.
“Oh, God is so good,” she said. “My grandson is supposed to be released from the hospital today. I’m just glad everyone is safe and that things ended the way they did.”