KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A gunman opened fire outside a hospital this afternoon, killing a woman and injuring two others before committing suicide, police said.
Knoxville Police Chief Sterling Owen IV said all the victims were female and current or former employees of Parkwest Medical Center. The attack happened about 4:30 p.m. outside the hospital’s discharge area.
Police are still trying to determine a motive but don’t believe the shooter worked at the hospital, Owen said.
Police put the hospital on lockdown as SWAT team members searched floor by floor to make sure no one else involved with the attack had made it inside. Owen said the hospital is being partially reopened.
Linda Cody, whose father was a patient at the hospital, said she was locked outside while her sister and mother were stuck in the room with her father as police searched the medical center.
She said she had gone outside to smoke a cigarette when she noticed a man lying face down, surrounded by blood, outside the discharge area of the hospital.
She said she didn’t know if the man, who wasn’t moving, was dead or alive, but she had learned the victims had been shot in the same area where she normally smoked.
“It was scary,” she said. “It kind of gives you the willies thinking that could have been me five seconds ago.”
Cody said she overheard a woman tell police that a gun was underneath the man lying on the ground.
Charles Billingsley was taking his sister to a nearby doctor’s office and was outside when he heard the shooting. He wasn’t close enough to see the attack, he said.
“I heard five pistol shots, back to back, and then another and then another,” Billingsley said. “I just saw people running from the hospital.”