2 health care workers killed in Dallas maternity ward shooting identified

The suspected gunman was on parole and wearing an electronic monitoring device.

October 25, 2022, 9:51 AM

A man who was recently paroled after serving a sentence for robbery is now facing capital murder charges stemming from Saturday's shooting at a Dallas hospital that left two health care workers dead in the labor and delivery department, officials said.

The suspect in the double homicide at Methodist Dallas Medical Center was identified as 30-year-old Nestor Hernandez, law enforcement officials told Dallas ABC affiliate WFAA .

Dallas police identified the two hospital employees killed as 45-year-old Jaqueline Pokuaa, a nurse, and Katie Flowers, 63, a social worker.

Hernandez was paroled on Oct. 20, 2021, after serving a prison sentence for aggravated robbery, according to a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

"He was on parole with a special condition of electronic monitoring," the spokesperson told ABC News.

Hernandez was granted permission to visit his girlfriend at the hospital after she delivered their baby, the spokesperson said, adding that the state's office of inspector general is working with the Dallas Police Department on the investigation.

Hernandez allegedly accused his girlfriend, who had their newborn with her in the room, of cheating on him, the Dallas Police Department said in a statement released late Monday.

The suspect allegedly pulled out a handgun and hit his girlfriend multiple times in the head with it while saying, "We are both going to die today" and "whoever comes in this room is going to die with us," according to an arrest warrant affidavit filed in the case. Hernandez then allegedly made "ominous phone calls and text messages to his family," according to the affidavit.

PHOTO: Police is seen after a shooting outside Methodist Hospital in Dallas.
Police are seen after a shooting outside Methodist Dallas Medical Center in Dallas, Oct. 22, 2022.

The first victim, Pokuaa, came into the room to provide routine treatment to the patient and was allegedly shot and killed by Hernandez, according to the affidavit. The second victim, Flowers, along with a Methodist Hospital police sergeant, was in the hallway and heard the gunshot. Flowers looked into the room and was fatally shot by Hernandez, the affidavit said.

The sergeant, identified by Dallas police as Robert Rangel, then shot Hernandez in the leg while the suspect was reloading his handgun and attempting to flee, according to a statement from the Dallas Police Department. The wounded suspect retreated back into his girlfriend's hospital room and after a brief standoff, he was detained and taken to a different hospital for treatment, police said.

Methodist Health System confirmed the incident in a statement, saying its police force as well as the Dallas Police Department responded to reports of an active shooter at Methodist Dallas Medical Center around 10:21 a.m. local time on Saturday.

Both police and the hospital confirmed that the shooting occurred near the Methodist Dallas Medical Center's mother/baby unit.

"Out of an abundance of caution, police force staffing has been increased on the Methodist Dallas Medical Center campus, including for mothers and babies," Methodist Health System said in a statement, describing Saturday's shooting as an "isolated and tragic event."

The investigation is ongoing, with the Dallas Police Department assisting the Methodist Health System Police.

"The Methodist Health System family is heartbroken at the loss of two of our beloved team members," the hospital added. "Our entire organization is grieving this unimaginable tragedy."

PHOTO: Methodist Dallas Medical Center in Dallas.
Methodist Dallas Medical Center in Dallas.

Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia slammed the "broken" justice system for allowing the suspect out on the streets, where he could allegedly obtain a gun.

"I'm outraged along with our community, at the lack of accountability, and the travesty of the fact that under this broken system, we give violent criminals more chances than our victims," Garcia said in a statement posted on Twitter. "The pendulum has swung too far."

Dr. Serena Bumpus, CEO of the Texas Nurses Association, called the shooting "unacceptable."

"No person should fear for their life for merely going to work, especially a nurse or healthcare worker whose passion is to help others heal," Bumpus said in a statement. "We hope our legislators understand that we need to protect our healthcare workers."

Bumpus also released statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showing workplace violence has increased during the pandemic and the risk to nurses was three times greater than "all other professions."

ABC News' Lisa Sivertsen contributed to this report.

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