An armed man who hurled a chair through a window at a Southern California hospital was taken into custody and a handgun was recovered Tuesday, but there’s no evidence that he fired any shots, authorities said.
Nobody was hurt in the incident that prompted evacuations and a lockdown at Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center near Los Angeles, Downey Police Chief Carl Charles said.
The suspect shattered the window before pulling out a handgun at a medical office building separate from the main hospital, Charles said. The man was unarmed when he surrendered without incident a short time later just outside the building. A gun was later found.
The man was described as a 34-year-old resident of nearby Lynwood, and there were unconfirmed reports that he was a patient at the hospital, Charles said. Some people reported hearing up to seven gunshots, but police haven’t confirmed that a gun was fired, he said.
The initial report was of a disturbance. But officials later described it as a possible active shooter.
Witness Amber Boughner said the man was irate and demanded to be let into a locked office before kicking walls and breaking the window. She didn’t see a weapon or hear gunshots, Boughner said.
“The security guard told me there was a gun, so I ran,” she told KABC-TV. Boughner said she and others locked themselves in a break room before officers let them out.
Police and Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies cleared the building room by room.
TV news helicopters showed people calmly walking out of the facility and numerous police vehicles around it.
Employee Edwin Olvera told The Associated Press his office was locked down, and he had “honestly never been more afraid.”
“I heard no shots. I heard that there was someone with a weapon at our office,” Olvera said.
Jim Branchick, a Kaiser area manager, said the incident happened in a medical office building, not the hospital proper.
Branchick said he did not know how the man got the gun into the building.
The medical center does active-shooter drills, and personnel followed protocol when the “code silver” signal for such an event was declared, he said. People went into rooms, closed doors and followed police commands.
Kaiser Permanente said in a statement that hospital officials were cooperating with police and sheriff’s investigators. The company directed further inquiries to the law enforcement agencies.
Counseling will be provided to employees unnerved by the incident, the hospital said.
Downey is a city of about 110,000 people southeast of downtown Los Angeles.
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